Council slash number of beds for district's homeless - The Leamington Observer

Council slash number of beds for district's homeless

Leamington Editorial 14th Aug, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016   0

HOMELESS people in the district are set to have an even harder time finding somewhere to sleep after council chiefs halved the number of available hostel beds.

Currently there are 120 bed spaces in six hostels across the district.

But under a new Warwickshire County Council contract – which was recently tendered out – that figure will be slashed to some 60 beds.

It means hostels Beauchamp House in Warwick and Eden Villa and William Wallsgrove House in Leamington will close.

Across the district there are around 20 people sleeping rough and nearly 200 homeless who are waiting to be homed and often have to use hostel services.

The council say the cuts come from its need to balance homeless services across the county.

A spokesman said: “The accommodation to support homeless people in Warwickshire was disproportionately distributed across Warwickshire.

“We have tried to balance that out in the tendering process and align available accommodation with local need.”

But a night shelter volunteer says local homeless people will be left ‘stranded’.

Volunteer Martin Luckhurst said: “Once again cuts from central government are directly affecting the lives of people who most need our help.

“Hostels offer a valuable stepping stone to assist people to get their lives back on track. But the fewer the beds the more people who will be left stranded not knowing where they’ll sleep tonight.

“How is someone going to get back to work and support their families if they don’t have somewhere stable to live?

“The government talks about ‘tackling inequality’, but these cuts are what the reality looks like in Warwick and Leamington.”

The new services will be offered to vulnerable people on a two year basis with the aim of preventing homelessness and supporting them to live independently.

Warwickshire County Council 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 number of charities help the homeless in the district, but many are pushed to capacity as people in the area struggle to deal with benefit cuts.

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