Homelessness charity St Mungo's has been given £1.15m of government money to set up a London detox centre for alcoholic homeless people.
The facility, in central London, differs from the charity's other hostels in that it will provide an alternative to police custody. It will be run jointly by St Mungo's, the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office, though there will be no police officers on site. An existing hostel will be adapted to provide the 15-place sobering-up, detox and respite facility.
The money has been awarded out of the Treasury's 'invest to save' programme.
Home Secretary David Blunkett said: "This is the first centre of its kind in London, dealing with a vulnerable group, many of whom have underlying health problems."
St Mungo's director of operations Mike McCall said: "We are pleased that the Government is taking the issue of street drinking seriously."
- See News, p5.