The value of safe and stable accommodation cannot be overstated: it is one of the fundamentals described in Maslow’s hierarchy of need, part of the Human Rights Act and is something many of us take for granted. For many in recovery, or those commencing this journey, safe affordable housing is a pressing need. To have a base from which to build your recovery is essential and is highlighted in both the 2010 and 2017 National Drug Strategy. It is also identified as an essential component of recovery by John Strang (Recovery Oriented Drug Treatment, An Interim Report, 2011, NTA). Sometimes people can leave it until they are facing housing crisis before they seek help. This can be too late. We raise housing as an issue with every member of Bridge at induction and regard this as a critical issue in any comprehensive assessment.
One of the biggest threats to secure housing that our members face is debt, which often causes additional stress: endangering recovery, leading to a potential loss of accommodation or increased arrears. We encourage and support individuals to take a realistic and structured approach to managing debt. We work with StepChange and other national charities to look at debt management. We encourage members to join Northamptonshire Credit Union and help them set up bank and savings accounts.
Poor quality or ‘unfit’ accommodation present a risk to both recovery and health. We work with environmental health to challenge and enforce change on private landlords when somebody lives in unfit housing or when repairs are not carried out.