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Hostel for homeless to ease ban on alcohol
AN OXFORD homeless hostel will allow people who have been drinking to use their services in the hope of better addressing their problems.
Simon House – formerly a ‘dry’ hostel for 18- to 65-year-old former drug addicts, alcoholics and offenders in Paradise Street, Oxford – will introduce a ‘damp’ policy from Monday. It follows the screening in Oxford earlier this month of a documentary that highlights the struggles facing recovering alcoholics.
Currently people are breathalysed as they arrive at Simon House.
If a test comes up with anything more than a zero reading, the person is barred from the hostel until they return and give a zero reading.
But last night a spokesman said: “From October, our policy on alcohol will change.
“We will continue to test people coming to Simon House for alcohol consumption, however the limit permitted will be set at the same as the drink-drive limit. If a person does not exceed the drink-drive limit they will be able to enter the hostel.”
The change in policy comes after Oxford film makers recorded scenes of a former Simon House service user speaking openly about his own history, revealing an insight into his complex behaviour.
66 Months Under the Radar follows several years in the life of Nigel Fletcher, who battled addiction and an abusive relationship.
The film makers claim Mr Fletcher was ‘under the radar’ of social services in the city, until he finally secured a place at Simon House.
They invited people from organisations responsible for his care at the time the film was made to the screening earlier this month.
A Simon House worker revealed during a question-and-answer session that the hostel had changed its dry policy to a damp one after the film.
The hostel denied it had been solely down to the documentary, insisting it had moved simply to a more ‘person centred’ approach, focusing on the ‘behaviour of residents and whether it is acceptable’.
Benn Kiley, A2Dominion service manager said: “We have been moving towards this type of approach for some time, and the changes are not a result of the film.
“However, the documentary film did illustrate the need for this type of approach and highlight the positive results it can bring. The new approach will see us working more closely with individuals to better understand and address their behaviour.”