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Framework homelessness charity NG

Location: UK » East Midlands » NG

Framework, Nottinghamshire’s leading homelessness charity, is warning that the level of budget cuts proposed by Nottinghamshire County Council - believed to be among the highest in the UK - will end vital services for homeless and vulnerable people in the county.

Nottinghamshire County Council has announced it is considering cutting up to £15m (67%) over four years from its Supporting People budget, a national housing-related support programme for vulnerable people.

Andrew Redfern, Chief Executive of Framework, said: “The county council is proposing to cut its Supporting People funding by between 43% and 67%. This contrasts starkly with the government’s provision for Supporting People in the Comprehensive Spending Review – a 12% reduction after inflation in the same period. 

“It is a move that could see the end of services for homeless and vulnerable people in the county, thousands of vulnerable people without the support they desperately need and hundreds of jobs lost in voluntary organisations.”

The Supporting People programme was a government initiative set up in 2003. It is administered locally by city and county councils to provide housing-related support to older people, people with learning or physical disabilities, homeless people, care leavers and people with mental health and substance-related problems.   

Andrew Redfern added: “In making its cuts Nottinghamshire County Council is proposing to concentrate what is left to meet its statutory obligations, leaving little to support homeless and vulnerable people.

“These cuts will create an additional burden for districts and boroughs who have the statutory responsibilities for homelessness, and there will be other unintended consequences: an additional burden will fall on GPs, A&E departments, the police, the criminal justice system and the probation service. Independent research by Capgemini has shown that every pound invested in the Supporting People programme saves £2.50 elsewhere.

“Nottinghamshire County Council says the Supporting People budget is a discretionary programme and not statutory, but this misses the point. The Supporting People programme was meant to be a partnership between the statutory and voluntary sectors working preventatively. These services are not just ‘nice to have’ they have proved to be a lifeline for vulnerable people.

“The effectiveness of Supporting People is beyond doubt. There has been an average reduction of 71% in homelessness presentations to local authorities across Nottinghamshire over the last five years. 

“Framework, like many agencies delivering support in Nottinghamshire, has already had a 15% cut in the Supporting People budget; if funding is cut between 43% and 67% then services will close – it is as simple as that. It is not safe to run services for people with a range of complex needs without trained staff. 

“The county council’s proposals threaten people who are already homeless or need help with drug or alcohol addiction or mental health problems. People needing support include victims of family breakdown or domestic violence, ex-forces personnel who have served Queen and country and people serving non-custodial sentences who would otherwise be in prison.

“The cuts also threaten a new and growing population – including many home owners and professional people – who need support for the first time in their lives: discovering that homelessness could happen to anyone, households are looking for support in addressing the consequences of the financial crisis, mortgage and credit card debt and redundancy,“ said Andrew Redfern.

The Isle of Wight Council has already implemented similarly draconian cuts in its Supporting People budget. A Risk Impact Assessment commissioned by the Isle of Wight LINk shows that the adverse consequences for people and communities are now becoming apparent:
• evidence of increased homelessness, offending, self harm, substance misuse, increased health issue and financial problems
• more tenancies at risk
• anti-social behaviour has increased
• the lack of support has deterred landlords from providing accommodation
• accommodation placements are breaking down more quickly
• the issues of those in need are becoming more difficult, long term and expensive to address.

Andrew Redfern added: “Nottinghamshire can expect the same consequences for individuals and communities: recent and substantial improvements in rough sleeping, homelessness, hospital admissions, ill health, poverty and anti-social behaviour, criminality and community safety will be thrown into reverse.

“We intend to make best use of the county council’s consultation period and have called on our staff, volunteers, supporters, service users, statutory partners, other voluntary organisations and the general public to join us in challenging these devastating cuts,” he added.

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Does this cut affect you or someone you know?

Cuts impact on mental health

As a mental health service user the support of Framework has been invaluable to me. Not just by helping me to access the benefit system, at a time when it was difficult to even make a cup of tea, but by building my self confidence and providing a service that would flag up any deterioration in my mental health.

My support worker has had time to build a relationship based on trust, understanding and respect.  A relationship that is sensitive…

Read more…

Posted by: Katharine Thurgood at 11:40am on 15 December 2010

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