Supporting people who use drugs

How can homelessness services support residents who use drugs, while remaining within the law?

In some parts of England, people are sleeping rough because no accommodation services will accept active drug use. This doesn't have to be the case. Homelessness services can take a harm reduction approach and work positively with people, whether or not abstinence is their goal.

Our guidance will help you to start planning a more tolerant approach and remove barriers to ending people's homelessness.

All homelessness services should have a drugs policy based on the needs of the people using that service. A well-written policy gives teams confidence to offer support effectively and within the law. This includes being able to support active drug users in accommodation such as hostels.

The templates below have been developed specifically for the homelessness sector. Introductory document 'How to write your drugs policy' includes the Organisational Drug Aims Identification Tool (ODAIT), which organisations should use to assess which level of tolerance will be most effective for them.

Please also refer to Homeless Link's Reducing Evictions and Abandonments Toolkit for further guidance on adopting flexible tolerance approaches when housing people with complex needs.

Working with active drug use

Guidance for managers and staff of homelessness accommodation on developing positive, welcoming services for people who are continuing to use drugs. 


Drugs policy templates

An introductory guide and suite of templates for developing drugs policies that meet the needs of service users and housing providers' responsibilities under the law.