Homelessness organisations face a 25% cut in council funding next year, prompting warnings that progress in tackling the problem will go into reverse.
The cuts are likely to lead to a 16% reduction in beds in homeless hostels, the closure of day, accommodation or support services and frontline redundancies, the Homeless Link survey of 500 providers found.
The cuts are a result of reductions in council Supporting People budgets for 2011-12, though a separate survey of 84 authorities showed these cuts ranged from 1% to 45% next year.
Though Supporting People is being rolled into councils’ general formula grant from 2011-12, the government provided indicative allocations for authorities showing a 2.7% average cut next year.
However, Homeless Link found that 45% of councils were making a lower proportionate cut than their reduction in government Supporting People funding, while 41% were making a cut that was higher than their reduction from government.
“Research shows that this work is good for the community and the public purse as well as life changing for the people concerned,” said Homeless Link chief executive Jenny Edwards. “Councils that have taken action to protect services that support homeless people recognise this value. But others are making cuts that make no long-term sense, are disproportionate, hit some of their most vulnerable residents and cannot be justified.
“The evidence is clear, if you cut homeless services today, communities are highly likely to pay tomorrow – seeing higher rates of addiction, ill health and anti-social behaviour.”
The report called on councils to minimise the impact of cuts on agencies by commissioning jointly with neighbouring authorities and lengthening contracts to reduce administrative demands on charities.
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