The Hope Programme Middlesbrough, North East

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1 The Hope Programme Middlesbrough, North East Community Action Against Crime: Innovation Fund Case Study 11 May 2013 Funded by

2 Contents Summary What was the need? 3 What did they do? 4 Who was involved? 5 What difference did it make and why? 7 James story: The route to recovery 8 What were the main lessons learned and what advice would they give to others? 9 What next? 10 About the funding 11 Funding The Hope Programme, led by Hope North East (HNE), received 42,511 funding from the Home Office s Community Action Against Crime: Innovation Fund. The Fund was managed by CDF. Aim The Hope Programme aimed to tackle homelessness in prison leavers with addiction issues, with an end result of reducing reoffending. Approach The programme provided service users with accommodation for six months, housing support and a recovery programme. In addition to other tailored services and activities. Some service users were prolific offenders and two service users were referred directly from HM Prison Holme House. Partnerships Hope North East worked with the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership, alongside other local organisations, to support service users through their recovery and into accommodation on completion of the programme. Outcomes Four service users were supported through the programme, of which two moved into private accommodation and two moved into further supported accommodation. Two service users did not engage in any reoffending. 2

3 What was the need? About Hope North East (HNE) Hope North East (HNE) is a charity that provides support for people with drug and alcohol related problems in Middlesbrough. They help people through an abstinence-based route to recovery and provide a range of services. These include a recovery awareness programme, one-to-one support, work club, IT club, art group, support groups, counselling and access to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) support and housing advice. They receive core funding from the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership and work closely with them to deliver drug and alcohol support services. Substance misuse A team member from the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership described how several areas in Middlesbrough suffer from deprivation and that, according to official statistics, Middlesbrough has many issues. She believed substance misuse was a significant problem in the area with alcohol and drug related hospital admissions being disproportionately high. Link between homelessness and substance misuse The issues of homelessness, addiction and crime are interlinked. Substance misuse and alcohol dependency are more common in the homeless population, with homelessness and offending behaviour mutually perpetuating. These issues are associated with significant costs, for example, the total cost for a drug offence conviction to the criminal justice system is estimated at 16,000. HNE investigated significant points at which their client group could become vulnerable to homelessness and identified people leaving prison with addiction issues as a priority. Reduce reoffending The Hope Programme was a residential supported project to help homeless prisoners with drug and alcohol issues. The project supported them to abstain, re-settle and re-integrate into the community upon discharge from prison in the Middlesbrough area. It aimed to reduce re-offending through this approach. Gaps in housing provision HNE s client group often have multiple, complex issues. They may have been involved in crime, served time in prison, had family issues or become homeless. A HNE counsellor described how the client group suffer from the whole range of things that happen when people get frightened and there is no money or gentleness in their lives. Through client surveys and feedback received during drop-in sessions, the team became aware that there were some gaps in service provision, in particular in terms of housing. A needs analysis showed that about 200 clients within the drug and alcohol treatment system in Middlesbrough were homeless, facing homelessness or had acute housing needs including unstable or insecure accommodation. 3

4 What did they do? HNE developed a homeless prevention project tailored specifically to the needs of homeless prison leavers with addiction issues. They provided furnished flats and created a therapeutic community environment in which clients would receive support, and support each other, to overcome addiction issues and develop the life skills needed to gain and maintain a tenancy following the programme. Key features A holistic support programme HNE took a two-pronged approach where the housing support team met housing needs and a recovery care plan was developed with a facilitator on the recovery programme. The recovery programme was a 12-week course which will provide you with learning opportunities, knowledge and a support network to help you grasp and understand recovery principles. This will guide and support your recovery. You will work with a group of peers and learn with our mentors. Referrals from a local prison The project was aimed at people with addiction issues leaving HMP Holme House. The team also conducted in-reach to raise awareness of the project with prisoners. The team assessed readiness for the programme by talking to potential candidates and gaining a rounded picture from prison staff working alongside the person. They had to make decisions about readiness but also believed it was important to remain open minded and have belief in people that they can change. They believed the assessment was as much about them getting to know us and the project what s on offer. Peer-led recovery The majority of employees at HNE were in recovery from addiction. According to a member of the team, Our clients often say they like to talk to people that have been in similar situations people they can identify with Hope North East has a high percentage of people in recovery themselves and that s the strength. Staff members were able to share their experience and show how they had transformed their lives. For example, six years ago, HNE s Volunteer Coordinator had been living on the streets and was a crack cocaine addict. She went through residential rehabilitation and began volunteering for HNE, which led to a permanent job. This provided positive role models with whom service users could connect. A member of the team described how they look to Sharon and think Sharon can do this, I can do this. Therapeutic community approach This approach involved group work, social interaction and structured activities. This meant that service users needed to be ready to live with other people, follow house rules and participate in the community spirit, as residents worked together to support each other to recover. Multi-agency working Working closely with the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership meant that HNE could pull together key people to support the needs of their clients. They worked with multiple agencies including housing, recovery and probation to build up a full picture of what was going on for service users in order to provide the best support possible. 4

5 Personalised support HNE is a user-led service. The team listened to the users and tailored their support accordingly. They provided an induction that helped people get to know the team and understand who they could go to for help at different times of the day. For example, a concierge was available outside of normal working hours. The team helped to identify any treatment that service users might need. They also provided structured activities to support the recovery journey and to fill the time that people in recovery suddenly find they have. Activities ranged from practical support, such as opening bank accounts and cooking on a budget, to well-being activities such as meditation, exercise and emotional support. Move-on support The programme aimed to equip clients with the necessary pre-tenancy skills that would enable them to find and keep a tenancy in the future. Clients had limited experience of everyday life skills and therefore needed support to understand basics, such as how to be a good neighbour and when to put bins out. HNE collaborated with a number of organisations to provide specialist support, such as the Shield Project, which offers services to private landlords including assistance in tackling anti-social behaviour by tenants. The Shield Project also vets tenants on behalf of private landlords so working with them enabled HNE to improve the reputation of their service users. 5

6 Who was involved? HNE developed out of the Boro Drugs Forum which acted as a voice for service users within Middlesbrough, developing drug and alcohol services alongside the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership. HNE are core funded by Safer Middlesbrough Partnership and continue to work with them to provide drug and alcohol support services alongside other related groups. HNE has developed a broad network of partners and several were involved in this project, including: The prison and probation service HNE worked with HM Prison Holme House to identify suitable people for referral onto the project. The probation service was also involved as two of the service users were released on licence. Crisis Crisis is a national charity for single homeless people. HNE partner with Crisis to run a private rented sector rent bond guarantee scheme to make it easier for service users to access decent accommodation and reduce the risk to private landlords. Mutual aid groups All individuals were able to access Middlesbrough mutual aid groups such as Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous. The Smart Recovery were also promoted. Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) A CAB advisor was based at HNE one day a week offering free and confidential advice to service users on their rights and responsibilities. Alcohol and drug treatment services Some clients needed to continue or reengage with treatment services following on from the treatment they received in prison. Other local community groups HNE are well connected to and supported by other service-user led local groups, community groups and the faith communities. This support includes venue use, training, meditation sessions and fundraising support. 6

7 What difference did it make and why? HNE worked intensively with four service users rather than the original 12 they intended to support. This was due to two main factors. Firstly, the start-up phase took longer than anticipated due to challenges in setting up rent and service charges in accordance with housing benefit regulations. This delayed the start by around six months. Secondly, time was needed to assess the suitability of service users, which was to ensure that service users fitted with the dynamics of the therapeutic community and were ready to make the big changes required to be successful on the programme. As a result, fewer service users were identified than had been expected. Reduced reoffending Service users were prolific offenders and two out of the four service users had not engaged in any reoffending since participating in the programme. One remained almost offence free, committing one shop lifting offence. Supported individuals on the path to recovery All four people completed the recovery awareness programme and received pre-tenancy training. Through counselling and specialist support, service users addressed historical issues, including one service user who had suffered child abuse. A member of the team described how seeing people grow and change is what it s all about for me. Provided stable accommodation All four service users were in a vulnerable position when they were referred to HNE and subsequently commenced their tenancy. It is unclear whether suitable alternative supported accommodation would have been found for these individuals at the point of discharge. Equipped service users with the skills to secure and sustain an effective tenancy Two service users moved into their own property and two moved into further supported accommodation as they required additional assistance with their recovery. Supported individuals to develop key life skills These included basic skills such as cooking on a budget. The service users had not had to think about some basic life skills before and did not know how to cook or to think about shopping. Service users also gained valuable employment skills through volunteering and were assisted in looking for work. One of the service users received a job offer. Improved health Service users received medical support for health issues such as stopping smoking, as well as testing and treatment for blood disorders that may have resulted from drug use. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation The recovery journey is complex but all four people made progress. One service use reduced his drug use, one remained abstinent from all illicit drugs, one remained drug free for the longest period in his adult life and one remained abstinent from alcohol for the first four months of his eightmonth stay. 7

8 James Story: The route to recovery James is a 40 year old single British white male who had a previous history of theft. He was convicted for robbery and was on licence with probation. He was referred to Hope North East (HNE) supported residential accommodation by HMP Holme House Drug Recovery Wing. He had previously been addicted to heroin and had successfully completed a methadone programme. Before serving his 18 month sentence, he had been a user of amphetamine and cannabis. James was a resident of HNE for six months. There were times when he isolated himself but these episodes became less frequent as he built up self-confidence through effective one-to-one working with staff and volunteers. During his time at HNE, James remained drug and crime free. He completed a 12 week recovery awareness programme and completed the computer basics course through the IT club. He also assisted as an advocate by attending work club appointments. He participated in the work club, completed a CV and got involved in activities such as the Middlesbrough recovery walks. Through the private rented sector scheme Hope 4 a Home James was successfully supported in finding private rented accommodation in his chosen location. Aftercare was provided by the private rented sector scheme to ensure he moved on successfully. 8

9 What were the main lessons learned and what advice would they give to others? Reflecting on their experience of the project, interviewees outlined the main lessons learned and advice they would share. Challenges in the referral and selection process The original plan was for all referrals to come through the prison; however, the selection criteria reduced potential service users to a small group. Selection criteria included being from the Middlesbrough area, referral from either the drug recovery wing or the therapeutic community and wanting to stop misusing drink and drugs. Because of these low numbers, the project also accepted service users from a local hospital and a residential rehabilitation programme. A team member described how it was difficult to assess readiness for this project as, for example, a possible offer of accommodation may have meant that potential candidates were not completely honest about their situation or desire to give up drugs and alcohol. However the team were keen to remain open minded. Begin the move on process earlier The move on process was originally seen as something that should happen towards the end of the project to prepare people for their next step into unsupported accommodation. On reflection, the team thought the move on process should be considered from the very beginning of the programme. This was because dealing with issues such as historical rent arrears or previous antisocial behaviour can take a long time. The team needed time to build trust with the service users so they would be honest about any barriers that may prevent them from moving into private rented accommodation and then to support them in working through a solution. It takes time to develop therapeutic connections and support change This type of approach required the service users to open up to people they had never met before. Peer support from people who were in recovery themselves helped this process but service users still needed time to adjust and get to know the staff. As a result, some service users stayed one to two months longer than the originally intended six months. A member of the support team for Safer Middlesbrough Partnership described the challenges of working with people who have deep-seated issues and how six months may not be long enough to address these. Managing behaviour is challenging The project provided service users with six months assured tenancy agreements which meant they felt secure knowing their accommodation was guaranteed for this period of time. However, this made it difficult for HNE to deal with challenging behaviour. When issues arose, the team would firstly try to work through them with the service user but if this failed, there was very little in the way of sanctions that the team could employ. The team had to move one service user on as they relapsed and began to compromise the recovery of others in the programme. The therapeutic community approach is particularly sensitive to this type of disruption. A member of the team described how they were trying to create an atmosphere that is conducive to recovery and this is compromised when someone brings in alcohol and is using drugs when there is a lapse we need to be able to take decisive action to move someone forward to protect the other clients and safeguard their recovery. In the future, HNE intend to include strict clauses that could be used to keep service users engaged and, as a worse case scenario, enable them to follow an eviction process. 9

10 What next? HNE received funding from the Northern Rock Foundation to continue delivering the project for a two-year period ( ). They will continue to support people with drug and alcohol issues but will gain referrals through the local authority. They will move to a more community-based approach, with staff being based in neighbourhoods rather than all services being based at HNE. Through their on-going work, HNE will continue to support existing users and reach new ones in the following ways: On-going support at HNE A member of the team said that sometimes they think once they ve moved on, job done, but we d say it s just the start. HNE maintained contact with their service users through the telephone recovery support service. They were planning to have staff based in communities in the future who could conduct home visits. They also run regular drop-in sessions and support groups. Supporting the supporters Staff at HNE believed it was important to build support for their team who are in recovery themselves. Many had not been through the traditional academic route and would benefit from further managerial supervision. They described an increase in the number of organisations using a peer support model in Middlesbrough and believed that there would be a benefit in pulling these people together as a support network to ensure they have a collective voice and never feel that their recovery is jeopardised. Private rented sector scheme HNE will continue to provide support to service users as they move into private accommodation through the private rented sector scheme. The scheme helps homeless people to overcome obstacles, such as financial challenges, to find a suitable home. Developing HNE s network HNE had a strong network in Middlesbrough which it will continue to develop. A member of the team has connected with the Police and Crime Commissioner s (PCC) Chief of Staff who had visited HNE. The team believed he recognises the key to helping people to recover from addiction are services like this. Building a positive reputation with landlords The team believed that building up trust with landlords and showing that tenants from HNE are trustworthy and reliable would lead to increased chances of future service users moving into good accommodation. Project contact Matt Fowler, Hope North East CAAC:IF Programme contact Sarah Golden, Community Development Foundation Changing perceptions about addiction and recovery HNE planned to continue working with other groups in the community to help them see the positive side of recovery and how people are trying to change their lives. 10

11 About the funding This project was funded by the Home Office s Community Action Against Crime: Innovation Fund. This was a two year fund created by the Home Office and managed by the Community Development Foundation (CDF) to encourage new ways of tackling crime issues which matter most to local communities. The fund was intended to show the potential of the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector in designing innovative solutions in fighting crime alongside the police and other partners. This is one of a series of good practice case studies that have been produced to showcase the contribution that the Sector can make to reducing crime. From 2013/14, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will be responsible for planning and commissioning services to deliver priorities set out in their local Police and Crime Plan. The majority of central government funding for community safety, reducing reoffending and addressing substance misuse will come to an end and instead such services will be commissioned locally, at the discretion of the PCC. This could create opportunities for the VCSE sector by opening up the market to a wider range of more diverse providers who are closer to communities. Safer Future Communities, led by Clinks is supporting the VCSE sector to influence, engage and develop partnerships with their PCC. A local network led by a VCSE infrastructure organisation has been established in each police force area. VCSE organisations are encouraged to make contact with their relevant network lead who has established links with the PCC and may be able to help support preparations for local commissioning. Contact details for local networks can be found at services.sfc 11

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