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Users' Views of a Drop-In Project for the Homeless
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Homeless adults attending a drop-in voluntary project were approached to assess their views on the project, pathways into homelessness, physical and mental health needs and history of substance misuse. Over a six week period, 70 users were interviewed. Of these 54 (77%) were men and the rest women. Twenty five (35%) were living in insecure accommodation. A significant proportion 61% (43) acknowledged having suffered from emotional or mental health problems in the past and nearly half (47%) admitted to having received a psychiatric diagnosis. Nearly one third reported past criminal record. The use of substances (drugs and alcohol) was fairly common. There were no ethnic differences in the findings although the numbers from ethnic minorities remain small. This is not a typical homeless sample but the findings suggest vulnerability of such a group. The group was by and large satisfied with the open access and flexible approach of the project. The findings are discussed in relation to the acceptable services provided by voluntary organisations and suggestions made for further studies. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services