The Liberal Democrats at last week’s County Council meeting called for the Conservative administration to think again about its proposals to cut support for people with homelessness problems.
Lib Dem spokesperson County Councillor Ron Tindall said: ‘The homeless in our society are not voters, they often exist in the twilight of our communities, isolated, and often difficult to reach. ‘But it is a measure of a civilised society how we care for those less fortunate than ourselves.
“Many have mental health issues or learning difficulties and I do find it disappointing that shortly before the homeless motion was debated, the council passed unanimously a motion on the need to give greater attention to mental health.’
The clear problem with the proposals is the request for a cut of 15% in back office costs without reducing the current numbers of people supported. Many charities run on around or less than 15% overheads, which could leave over 100 homeless people unsupported.”
Extract from briefing given to councillors by the County Council
5.2 Housing Related Support (HRS) are services that support a tenant to achieve or maintain independence in housing, with the reassurance of some degree of support. The levels of support include accommodation-based staffing, ‘floating’ staffing support and the use of technology like community alarms, targeted at specific groups like older people, people with learning disabilities, people at risk of domestic abuse or those with mental ill health. Given the financial challenges facing the council in the medium term, services including housing related support must be considered for budget reductions in order to focus remaining resources on core statutory social services. 5.3 The proposals fall into three categories:
- Contracts that ended in March 2016 and have not been renewed
- Contracts for mental health hostels where it is proposed that the subsidy from HCC will cease
- Contracts due to end in March 2017, where a 15% contract value reduction will be
- sought from January 2017 in exchange for a one-year contract extension The full proposals are detailed at items 4.6, 4.7 and 4.8 of the report.