Pressure on support services for homeless people in Leamington and Warwick is reaching a “crisis point” in the face of funding cuts, Labour Party members have claimed.
Earlier this year, Warwickshire County Council decided to cut housing-related support - including hostels for single homeless people, former prisoners, abuse victims and others - by half across the county, reducing it by £1.2 million during this financial year and a possible £3.2million in 2017 and 2018.
Beauchamp House in Warwick and Eden Villa and William Wallsgrove House in Leamington - three of the six main hostels across the two towns - are set to be closed, with Labour councillors claiming 30 beds have already been lost across the district already.
County councillor Matt Western (Lab, Leamington Willes) said: “Some of our most vulnerable members of society are being left with very little support. It has reached crisis point.
“Support and protection should be provided by the local authority but increasingly this is being left to volunteer organisations such as the various night shelters, the Salvation Army and Helping Hands, based in south Leamington.
“There is increasing pressure on these organisations and there simply isn’t the funding to support the additional demand.”
To tackle what it has described as a “growing crisis”, the district Labour group is calling for Warwick District councillors to agree a strategy and a budget for next year.
In response, Warwick District Council has said its policy is actively under review as part of the revisions being developed for its housing and homeless strategy.
Cllr Peter Phillips (Con, Budbrooke), Warwick District Council portfolio holder for housing and property services, said: “Tackling homelessness is an issue the district council places a high priority on, and the reviews and surveys underway will form an important part of understanding how these services should be provided in future. Each case of homelessness is about an individual and different solutions will be needed to address each particular circumstance.
“There is no one size fits all solution.”
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