HR4Homelessness identified one of the most urgent challenges of homeless services which is to improve HR services for people in situation of homelessness. Until today, people in homelessness who use drugs lack access to HR services, die or get infected with life-threatening diseases. Effective HR reduction is the first crucial step to improve their health situation.
The main activities and outputs of the project:
- Develop the Harm Reduction Key Principles which support services in improving HR service provision.
- Provide a 3-days training, based on the Key Principles, targeting frontline staff working with homeless and drug use related services.
- The Country Reports will provide an analysis of the current HR service provision in the partner countries (HU, DK, NL, PT, IE), including strategies and policies, and identify common characteristics of service provision & common denominators of successful interventions.
- Run a Europe-wide survey on current HR service provision by homeless services. Results will be presented in the European Report which will also provide a comparative analysis of current strategies on HR provision in the partner countries and beyond.
- Policy recommendations for policy makers working at local and European levels
- Organize national dissemination events to establish the Harm Reduction Key Principles as best practice and disseminate the project and outputs.
All outputs will be available for free and will be published on this website as well as the dates of the dissemination events (planned for spring 2021). You can also contact the project officer Ruth Kasper.
HR4Homelessness started on the 1st of September 2019 and will run for 2 years. It is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme. The project involves organisations from the homeless, drug use related and human rights sector: FEANTSA (Belgium/EU- coordinator), Correlation Network / Rainbow Group (NL), Rights Reporter Foundation (HU), Simon Communities of Ireland (Ireland), Health Team City of Copenhagen (DK), Norte Vida (PT) and SMES-B (Belgium) as associate partner.
Results from survey suggest that most homeless services in Europe follow Harm Reduction approach
The survey conducted within the ‘Harm Reduction 4 Homelessness’ project shows that Harm Reduction has become a widely adopted approach by homeless and other support services who support people who use drugs and/or alcohol. The survey reached out to homeless services, drug /alcohol use specialist services as well as general social support and health care services. It was conducted during January and February 2020. The survey wanted to assess the current HR service provision for people who use drugs and alcohol, in particular persons in a situation of homelessness.
185 organisations from 20 countries participated of which 69% were homeless services, 8% drug / alcohol use specialist services, 17% general local / regional support services (other than homeless or drug/alcohol specialist services) and 6% public organisations, including public health services. The results suggest that, across service types (i.e. homeless services, drug use specific and general services etc.), most organisations follow a HR based approach: 82% allow access to services under the influence of drugs, a third allow drug use in their services, with similar results for alcohol use. However, few services provide drug/alcohol consumption rooms on their premises- 11% respectively 15% for drug/alcohol use. The fact that only 27% of services explicitly follow an abstinence-based approach regarding drug use (22% on alcohol use), shows that HR has been widely adopted not only among drug/alcohol use specialist services but also among homeless and general social support services.
The survey also looked at the type of support provided. Most frequently provided support by homeless services are psycho-social support/counselling, social support towards reintegration, employment support and education and vocational training. In terms of drug-use specific support, homeless services most often provide syringe provision / syringe exchange, opioid overdose prevention, Hepatitis C and HIV testing and testing of infectious diseases. Specialist drug/alcohol use related services as well as public and public health services play a key role for the provision of this type of support. Furthermore, results suggest that peer support and mobile services as well as women-specific services have become common elements of homeless service’s support provision.
Last but not least, it should be said that the results are not representative for the European homeless service sector and should be interpreted with caution as certain countries (such as Germany, Portugal, Denmark) are clearly overrepresented in the sample.
The full results will be published in the HR4Homelessness European Report in late 2020.
For more information, please contact project officer Ruth Kasper.