Wytham Hall is a provider of dry and abstinent supported housing accommodation for up to 25 members of Westminster’s homeless population.
Our residents are not allowed to drink alcohol and/or take non-prescribed drugs, on or off the premises during their stay with us, and nor are their guests. N.B. This includes methadone.
We typically require a 6 month period of complete abstinence before admission, but are prepared to be flexible when we feel that a potential resident has done enough to give us the confidence to take the risk. Such risk taking only occurs when the prospective resident has been able to engage in a full and frank discussion of their situation and in doing so, has been able to convince us that they are a risk worth taking.
We have to take extremely seriously the impact of a relapse upon the staff team and also the impact of a relapsing, or otherwise very challenging resident, upon the wellbeing and recovery of our other residents.
Therefore, we need to tread extremely carefully when admitting someone that has an alcohol/drug past. Due to our legal status i.e. not a hostel, we cannot merely insist that a resident leave if they relapse and instead have to follow a very long and costly eviction process, that can currently take up to 10 months. A relapsed resident can do an awful lot of damage to their fellow residents’ recovery and wellbeing in that time, not to mention the drain of staff time and resources.
During such a lengthy eviction process, much damage is also done to the relationship between Wytham Hall and its residents, who, lacking insight into the legal processes involved, come to believe that Wytham Hall is allowing the drug/alcohol use and disregarding our commitments to them.
Following a recent eviction, we are still rebuilding bridges with certain people a full 8 months later.
All decisions regarding whether to take such a risk rest with the Wytham Hall staff team alone.
We are not a drug and alcohol focussed organisation and we are not staffed sufficiently, or equipped, to be one and nor do we aspire to be so.
Our strengths lie in our ability to engage those whose difficulties are mental/emotional.
There is more to coming indoors than shutting a door behind you and we focus heavily on reconnecting people with social skills that may have atrophied somewhat and help them to develop the confidence to assert themselves and to begin to take the risks necessary to live a fuller and healthier life and ultimately to take up their independence successfully.