Charity supporting Sunderland’s homeless youth faces funding cuts

Four hostels for homeless youth across Sunderland are at risk of closure following “devastating” cuts from Sunderland City Council.

Centrepoint, a charity for homeless youth, fears the decision by the council not to renew their contract in July could put many who depend on their services at risk.

However, the Council has stated that a new service for the homeless will be put into place at the end of their current contract with Centrepoint.

Through losing this contract, the charity will lose £3million in funding, of which £907,587 is used to support the four hostels across Sunderland.

The funding withdrawal will affect those aged 18-25 years old who are not considering ‘statutory homeless’ by the council.

A freedom of information request by Centrepoint revealed 660 young people approached Sunderland City Council because they were homeless or at risk of homelessness in 2015/16.

Only 14 of those were accepted as statutory homeless.

Martin Gill, Director of Housing and Support at Centrepoint, said: “The impact of these cuts will be devastating. Vulnerable young people – including those exposed to the dangers of rough sleeping – will be left without the support they need, putting their futures at serious risk.

“Centrepoint won’t give up on helping homeless young people in Sunderland. But that task will be much more difficult once these cuts have been implemented.

“Sunderland City Council has shown a disappointing lack of planning. Local authority budgets are under pressure across the country, but their handling of this situation has heaped unnecessary anxiety on to vulnerable young people.

“We urge the council to rethink its decision.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, cabinet member for health, housing and adult services, said: “A new service for helping the homeless and those at risk is being put in place as current contracts finish.

“This Housing First approach is in line with new and proven national and international practice, and on-going welfare reforms.

“It is about preventing homelessness with more support, helping to stop issues escalating, and moving away from hostel or refuge-based support towards getting into people their own accommodation.”

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