By Liam Barnes, News Correspondent
A homeless hostel has lost its funding following a review by Salford City Council yesterday.
Lancaster House, which cares for up to 38 vulnerable homeless men, will now take its fight to keep £238,000 of funding to the High Court for a judicial review.
Dave Allum, chairman of Lancaster House, was upset with decision, which flew in the face of a petition signed by over 7,000 residents as well as support from groups such as Community Action Group, Salford Against the Cuts and was backed by Mancunian Matters in our campaign last week.
He pledged to battle on to keep the centre open for people in desperate need of support.
“I’m disappointed but not disheartened,” he said. “The ball will be rolling straight away.”
He added. “We’ve amassed a whole team of people, it’s like a family round the campaign, and we’re going all the way with this and we’re pretty confident – next stop Downing Street!”
Mr Allum was most annoyed by the lack of reasons given for the decision, as well as the opaqueness of the statistics on homelessness in the area. For instance, official figures from 2007 claimed Manchester had only seven rough sleepers, to general incredulity.
“The council haven’t given us any arguments, they could argue it’s a training centre for Al Qaeda for all we know,” he said. “There’s no openness or transparency.”
In a statement, Salford City Council announced a new homelessness project in Pendleton in partnership with the Salvation Army Housing Association, as part of the redesigned Housing and Support Services, as well as the opening of Abbott House on Brindle Heath Road in October, with £1.4m of the costs funded through the Government’s ‘Places of Change’ project.
Councillor Peter Connor, Salford City Council’s lead member for housing said: “Due to Government spending reductions we’ve had to cut council budgets by approximately £40 million in 2011/12, and will have to make further reductions over the next three years.
“This has meant that the council has had to look even more critically at how a number of services, including those to the homeless, can be delivered in future years at less cost.
“In light of this we have reviewed the whole ‘homeless’ sector, and working with partners have developed a new model for delivering support for single homeless people. This includes making a reduction in the number of traditional supported accommodation projects in which support is commissioned.
“Our aim is to ensure that single homeless people spend less time in institutionalised settings and are enabled to move on positively to training, employment and settled homes within the community with appropriate levels of support.
“The review of the homeless sector was never about one project, and it is unfortunate that it has been presented, by some, in this way.
“We believe that the new service model will provide homeless people with a good service in the future.”
Mancunian Matters are supporting Lancaster House’s efforts to overturn the decision. To sign the petition opposing the closure visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savelancasterhouse/
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