Budget signals better deal for people with the most complex problems

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 - 5:14pm

Government to explore integrating spending for people facing a combination of homelessness, substance misuse, mental health problems and repeat contact with the criminal justice system.

The Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition has welcomed the announcement in the budget to explore options to integrate spending for people in England experiencing a combination of homelessness, substance misuse, mental health problems and repeat contact with the criminal justice system. 

What was announced?

"The government is exploring options to integrate spending around vulnerable groups of people in order to improve cost effectiveness, including supporting individuals struggling with homelessness, addiction and mental health problems"

The backstory

The government has already joined up funding for troubled families. Latest estimates suggest there are also 58,000 individuals in England experiencing homelessness, substance misuse and contact with the Criminal Justice System and a further 164,000 who experience an overlap of any two. 

A failure to effectively support these individuals costs the taxpayer at least £4.3bn a year, while recent research by MEAM has shown that better coordinated services in local areas can reduce costs by up to a quarter. 

In January 2015, Homeless Link and its members set out the five steps that the next Government could take to make the biggest difference to homelessness. This included developing a new national focus on adults facing complex problems that can support, incentivise and fund local areas to act. 

Our response

Today’s announcement follows a call by Baroness Tyler in the House of Lords last October for a national focus on multiple needs and the recent commitments made by the government in its Autumn Statement  and response to the Service Transformation Challenge Panel.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield, Chair of the MEAM coalition, said:

“I strongly welcome today's Budget announcement.  Too often the way government works means that local services for people with multiple needs operate separately rather than together.  A new national focus that integrates spending could help change this, encouraging local areas to deliver services that improve support for individuals and reduce costs over the course of the next Parliament.”

The MEAM coalition is made up of the charities Homeless Link, Mind, Clinks and Drugscope.

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Stephen Holland

Stephen served as our Communications Officer until January 2016.