'Significant' loss of homeless beds still a concern - The Leamington Observer

'Significant' loss of homeless beds still a concern

Leamington Editorial 4th Jan, 2017   0

A ‘SIGNIFICANT’ loss to the number of homeless beds across the district continues to be a concern.

The amount of hostel beds available was set to be slashed from 120 to 60 under a Warwickshire County Council contract which was recently tendered out.

But Stonham – the company which won the contract – is working to secure 19 of the lost spaces, meaning nearly 80 would be available.

Martin Luckhurst, a volunteer at a local night shelter, says the number is an improvement but did little to tackle homelessness in the area.

He told the Observer: “These temporary additional beds should help to ease the crisis somewhat over the coming months. Thank you to everyone who’s helped make this happen.

“However even with these additions we still face a significant loss of homeless beds in the district and rising homelessness caused by huge cuts by central government to council funding and services.”

Rough sleepers in the district have risen from around 12 to 20 in the last five years.

But there are also some 200 who are classed as homeless and regularly have to use hostel services.

Warwick district councillor Colin Quinney says all of the hostel spaces needed reinstating to help deal with the number of people sleeping rough.

He said: “We are pleased that some progress is now reported towards this target but the shortfall is still expected to be over 40 bed spaces and we urge the council to commit to replacing all 60 spaces.”

Warwickshire County Council say they made the cuts to even out provision across the district.

The authority has been told it must save £92million by 2018 with the housing support service budget set to be slashed in half to £4.8million by that time.

* A PIONEERING project to combat rising homelessness across Warwickshire has been awarded an £855,000 Government grant.

The initiative aims to intervene before residents find themselves out on the streets.

The funds will support people at risk of homelessness by helping with commonplace causes like relationship breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness and domestic abuse.

Teams of support workers and mentors at voluntary and community organisations will hold advice sessions and point residents to support services.

Warwickshire Together Homelessness Early Intervention Project – which comprises Warwick District Council, neighbouring Stratford distirct, and also Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth, and North Warwickshire borough councils – worked together to secure the grant.


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