Government slashes funds for homeless people in the North East

The Government has slashed funding for homeless people in Sunderland by nearly half since 2012 due to budget cuts.

In 2012/13, a grant of £216,470 was provided to Sunderland Council by the Department for Communities and Local Government. In the current year, 2016/17, a grant of £138,364 has been provided for the homeless people.

The Council has a legal duty to provide funds for the homeless people. Some of the homeless people have been able to stay in existing homes and some of them have been assisted to stay in alternate accommodation. But this is only possible if there are enough funds to support the homeless people.

A council spokesman said: “Sunderland, like all councils across the country, is experiencing unprecedented cuts and costs pressures on its budgets.

“Under this pressure, the council continues to work closely with various partners across the city providing help and support to both tenants and landlords and takes a proactive approach to homelessness.”

The spokesman added: “This proactive partnership approach based on shared information and resources helps reduce the risk of people losing their homes and going into temporary accommodation.”

Click here for a graph illustrating funding for homelessness in Sunderland.

Bethany Church is a registered charity in Sunderland which raises funds for homeless people and works in conjunction with the Soup Kitchen which provides shelter to people who are living on the streets.

Centre Manager for Bethany Church in Sunderland, Peter Errington, helps to prevent people from becoming homeless. He said: “People who come to us are not always homeless; they are usually struggling to survive. These people are put into temporary accommodations such as hostels and bed sits. We usually provide support by giving out parcels to these people.”

South Tyneside Council and other councils have also reduced their funds for the homeless in the last couple of years. The grants provided in the current year is £78,687 compared to £90,556 in 2014/15. These cuts mainly affect those who are unintentionally homeless and are now in priority need.

Cleadon and East Boldon Councillor Joan Atkinson from South Tyneside Council and leader for Children, Young People and Families said: “We believe every child has the right to the best start in life and we are making strenuous efforts to help families.  To help people affected by the government’s new welfare reforms, we created an enhanced welfare support team last year to enable us to offer early help and support to those likely to be affected. Staff are currently contacting these households to offer as much support as we can to reduce the impact of the new benefits cap.”

Coun Atkinson added: “However, it is important to remember that the single best way to tackle poverty is through the creation of high quality jobs. That is why, despite the challenging financial climate, we have chosen to press ahead with regeneration plans for the Borough to provide valuable new opportunities for local people.”

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