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Freezing temperatures and spending cuts will hit those at rock bottom, warns Providence Row
Government spending cuts will hit homeless charities this winter, making it more difficult for them to help the most vulnerable. The cuts kick in as the UK is in the grip of arctic conditions and hundreds of homeless men and women are living rough on the streets of London.
Providence Row press release
London charity Providence Row has been hit by a 40% cut in the funding which it uses to provide immediate relief to rough sleepers as well as helping them back into the community. From January, the charity will be forced to restructure its services and make redundancies to make savings.
Jo Ansell, chief executive of the charity, said ‘We are seriously concerned about people being homeless in these temperatures. Severe weather shelters are opened by local authorities only when the temperature hits zero but when it’s 2 degrees outside it can feel like minus 4 with the wind. We do everything we can to help people in these conditions but this relief costs money and we cannot provide it without funding.’
In the comprehensive spending review the government relaxed protection of the £100m Homelessness Grant which helps to fund homelessness charities. The cut comes into force as Christmas services for homeless people close and the charity sees a surge in numbers.
Homelessness is a real problem in the capital: last year 3,763 people slept rough on its streets. Some sleep in car parks, by vents for warmth or near tube stations for shelter. Bridges and stairwells are popular as they provide a refuge from the elements. The unique interactive project 150 Voices has been commissioned by the charity to give homeless people a voice and a chance to tell their stories. The website is regularly updated with new stories and the project will culminate in an exhibition next April. To watch these films go to www.150voices.com.
Dipika Kulkarni, communications and events officer
Direct line: 020 7422 6763
Mobile: 07870 358 739