Ed Addison and Nathan Rosier
This blog is the third in a series of three by The People’s Recovery Project (TPRP), a charity building sustained recovery for people experiencing homelessness and addiction. As a follow up to their involvement in the HSCWRU Strengthening adult safeguarding responses to homelessness and self-neglect study, HSCWRU invited TPRP to facilitate an event at King’s.
This blog by TPRP co-founders Ed Addison and Nathan Rosier shares final messages from this event on re-thinking approaches to supporting people to move on from multiple exclusion homelessness (MEH), with a focus on building new communities.
Blog 3: A peer-led community – improving routes into residential treatment
As we continue to develop The People’s Recovery Project (TPRP) we emphasise the importance of a peer-led community in guiding and supporting our approach. In the previous blog in this series we heard from Danny, an active TPRP community member, about his experience of street homelessness, residential treatment and recovery from addiction. Danny’s story is an example of how getting the opportunity to access residential rehabilitation can contribute to individuals making huge and positive life changes. Despite the many obstacles faced by our community members experiencing MEH, Danny is not the only one who has managed to embark on a journey of recovery. Through building a peer-led community in recovery from homelessness and addiction, we are striving to create the conditions that will allow members to use their own experiences to demonstrate to those living on the streets that a permanent recovery from street homelessness is possible. Continue reading
This blog is the second in a series of three by The People’s Recovery Project (TPRP), a charity that aims to build sustained recovery for people experiencing homelessness and addiction. As a follow up to their involvement in the NIHR SSCR funded Strengthening adult safeguarding responses to homelessness and self-neglect study, HSCWRU invited TPRP to host an event at King’s. This blog by TPRP co-founders Ed Addison and Nathan Rosier shares further messages from this event and focuses on ‘lived experience’.
The People’s Recovery Project event at HSCWRU brought together individuals from across the homelessness and substance misuse sectors, and within the group were many people with both expertise and lived experience. From the foundation of TPRP, at the core of development has been the involvement of people with lived experience of both homelessness and substance use. At the event we heard from community member Danny who has been supporting the development of the charity over the past year, and who spoke of his personal lived experience of addiction and of being on the streets:
I was homeless in Westminster for about 20 years. In this time, I was in and out of homelessness services, police custody and incarcerated in prison on a number of occasions. I never wanted to go to rehab and did not see this as an option. The first time I went was due to a drug rehabilitation requirement issued by the court, and it was a way of getting me out of prison. I was not ready for rehab at this point.
When you are accessing different homelessness services, such as hostels and day centres, it is really difficult to access rehab: you have to jump through so many hoops. It felt like there was always a constant block and if it was not the limitations of one service it was due to the requirement of another organisation, or legislation that says you have to have a local connection, live in the right catchment area, or meet a certain criteria. Continue reading
Carolin Hess is a PhD student in the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce who has been awarded Doctoral funding from the NIHR School for Social Care Research. (701 words)
Over 280 participants joined Ben Scher, a PhD candidate in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation at the University of Oxford and outreach worker at St. Mungo’s, for the latest webinar of the HSCWRU Homelessness series on how low-barrier drug interventions can reach people experiencing homelessness and drug-related harms. Presenting findings of his doctoral project, which compares the lived experience of street-based drug dependency based on people’s access to low-barrier overdose prevention centres (OPC) across sites in Vancouver (Canada), Birmingham (UK), and Athens (Greece), he provided ethnographic evidence on the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing OPCs.
OPCs are “safer consumption spaces” where drug consumption is monitored by medically-trained professionals. Substantial observational evidence across the 15 countries currently operating OPCs has demonstrated how these centres can be successful in preventing fatal overdoses, reducing risk of blood borne diseases, and increasing safer injecting practices and engagement with substance treatment services. Continue reading
This blog is the first in a series of three by The People’s Recovery Project (TPRP), a charity that aims to build sustained recovery for people experiencing homelessness and addiction. As a follow up to their involvement in the NIHR SSCR funded Strengthening adult safeguarding responses to homelessness and self-neglect study, HSCWRU invited TPRP to host an event at King’s with invited stakeholders. This was an opportunity to share ideas with a wide spectrum of perspectives from across the homelessness and substance misuse sectors, including safeguarding, commissioners, health, mental health, grassroots organisations, experts by experience and researchers. This blog by co-founders Ed Addison (left) and Nathan Rosier highlights messages from the 2023 event and introduces TPRP’s work. Continue reading
Alan Kilmister (Peer Researcher and Expert by Experience with the Policy Institute’s Homeless Hospital Discharge Project) describes proceedings at recent conference organised by the London Drug and Alcohol Forum. (534 words)
Michelle Cornes with Alan Kilmister
I had the pleasure of attending the ‘Addressing Complexity: Homelessness and Addiction’ conference on Friday 18 January 2019 at the Guildhall in London. I arrived at this beautiful venue a little tired after my early start. My first train was at 06:24. However, a few cups of coffee soon warmed me up. It was an excellent event with a wide range of subjects and very good speakers. I was most impressed by the talk by Kevin Dooley (Recovery Programme Consultant) who at one time had been an armed robber, alcoholic and heroin addict with extensive experience of the ‘criminal justice system’! He spoke very truthfully and emotionally about his time on the streets and how when he was in prison his son had died, he received little in the way of compassion and understanding from the system. Some of the other people at the conference with lived experience commented how they were able to fully connect with what Kevin was saying especially with regard to the shame and stigma that goes hand in hand with homelessness and addiction. Kevin made the point that coming to events like these and talking about ‘our’ experiences takes that shame away. I am a firm believer in involving people with lived experience (“nothing about us without us”) and Kevin made the point that we were are still too few in numbers at events like these. The keynote address by Professor Alex Stevens also made this point, highlighting how, a structurally advantaged social group can dominate the cultural, intellectual landscape, while the people most affected by drug deaths have little say (or in the jargon “corporate agency”). I asked the expert panel in the morning session about this topic and there was consensus about the importance of involvement and engagement, and us all doing more to enable this.
I found the talk by Dr Steve Sharman who presented case studies of people’s experiences of homelessness and gambling very interesting. It reminded me of my time in a Hostel in Wolverhampton. A few of the clients living there were addicted to gambling and just around the corner from the Hostel was a big Casino. This made me wonder if they were addicted to gambling before becoming homeless or took to gambling after becoming homeless.
I found the street drinking in East London talk by Dr Allan Tyler interesting too and wondered about boundaries – would the researchers have learned more had they participated in the actual drinking? There was also a very good talk by our very own Dr Michelle Cornes ably assisted by Darren O’Shea and Jo Coombes.
Michelle presented a case study called the Gutter Frame challenge which tells of the barriers people have to overcome if they want to access services following discharge to the street. Finally, I must also offer my compliments on the superb buffet provided at lunch time, and of course the chance for some networking too. This is really important for us, and I was thrilled to be approached by a research manager from a leading charity who invited me to join a new advisory group being set up on peer research. All in all, a very worthwhile and enjoyable day.
Alan Kilmister is a Peer Researcher and Expert by Experience with the Policy Institute’s Homeless Hospital Discharge Project