Providing For The Needs Of Homeless People With Chronic And Severe Alcohol Problems

The Highland Council, with Communities Scotland and the Highland Drug and Alcohol Action Team, is about to carry out research into the needs of people with chronic and severe alcohol problems who are homeless.

This research aims to look at their housing, support, care and treatment needs and explore whether they are being met by services in the Highlands. It is hoped that by identifying improvements which could be made, and by exploring whether new services are needed, organisations can develop their services so that people facing these problems will be both helped out of homelessness and to stabilise their lives.

Councillor David Alston, Chair of Highland Drug and Alcohol Action Team said: "We know that there are many people sleeping rough in Highland and that many of them have serious alcohol problems leading to quite complex health and social care issues. It is important that we identify ways to support those affected and ensure that services work together to meet their needs."
David Nicol, Communities Scotland area director for the Highlands and Islands, said: “This research will allow Communities Scotland, and its local partners, to assess how current services are providing for the needs of people with chronic and severe alcohol problems who are homeless. It will also help shape the future thinking of a range of organisations across the Highlands who work in this area allowing homeless people with alcohol problems access to the appropriate accommodation, care and treatment.”

As well as talking to service providers, the research aims to explore, with the target group, their needs, aspirations and views.

The research is aimed at policy makers and funders; service providers (including public, voluntary; charitable services) and stakeholders with an interest in the group. It will help to inform future investment in housing, support, care and treatment services in Highland and the way in which they are further developed.

The aim is to carry out the study between October 2007 and January 2008. The project will be put out to tender to make sure that the researchers have an understanding of the range of issues as well as experience in this type of research.

An Advisory Group, made up of representatives involved in the various services, will assist in the direction of the research and make sure that the connections are made to relevant stakeholders.

For more information please contact Hilary Parkey, Housing Strategy Officer, The Highland Council. Tel. 01463 702859 Email:

26 Sep 2007