Tuesday 08 Feb 2011 @ 11:43
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Letters from the sector
A letter to Prime Minister David Cameron has warned of "increased flows into homelessness" if many local councils continue their current trend of financial decisions.
The letter 1, written by Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, predicts a loss of "as much as 20% of the voluntary sector’s provision for vulnerable homeless people", rising in some parts of the country to "30% or 40% or more".
In it, Ms Edwards identifies a major contributing factor as being the removal of the ring fence on Supporting People funding. This previously protected public funding for the voluntary sector is the largest single source in England. A failure to secure funding at a local level will have "devastating" consequences for the services that depend on it, Ms Edwards continues.
She describes the removal of the ring fence as "a very serious mistake", especially now that local budgets are under such tight pressure, and points to the successes of Supporting People funded services. "The results speak for themselves, as professionalised and dedicated services have helped thousands of people leave the streets and worked with them on the journey back to independence."
Ms Edwards invites the Prime Minister to meet with her and representatives from some of the services that are at risk "to discuss these issues and the steps that could be taken now to reduce the immediate dangers".
Dear Lady Eaton...
The warning to the Prime Minister is echoed in another letter from the CEOs of Homeless Link, Shelter and Crisis to Baroness Eaton, Chair of the Local Government Association. 2
In the letter, sent last Friday, Jenny Edwards, Leslie Morphy and Campbell Robb point to the "worrying increase in people becoming homeless" as demonstrated in recent figures on statutory homelessness (up 14%) and CHAIN rough sleeping figures (up 20%). They highlight the good work of the sector working in partnership with local authorities - work that they believe is in danger of being damaged when local authorities apply Supporting People cuts that are "disproportionate to the overall reduction ... of their own ... resources".
The letter continues: "In some areas they clearly value this work and are taking steps to protect it with lower than average cuts but in many other areas the progress that has been made is under real threat of unravelling ... This is about protecting some of the most vulnerable people in society. It is also about what will deliver value for money for our communities and the public purse. "
The three charity leaders finish with the suggestion of a meeting with Baroness Eaton to discuss "how we can carry forward the positive partnership of past years between local government and homelessness charities into the challenging times ahead in the interests of vulnerable homeless people and the wider communities in which they live".
1 Download the full text of Jenny Edwards' letter to David Cameron (PDF format) - http://bit.ly/f1Q6i3
2 Download the full text of the letter from Homeless Link, Shelter and Crisis to Baroness Eaton of LGA (PDF format) - http://bit.ly/dX7Qpo