Nottinghamshire: Homelessness risk as axe falls on “vital” Framework services

Andrew Refern, chief executive of Framework
Andrew Refern, chief executive of Framework

The closure of several homelessness prevention services in Nottinghamshire could leave more than 2,500 people in the county “struggling to remain in their homes.”

Framework, which offers support for people at risk of homelessness in Bassetlaw and other areas of the county, announced that it will no longer be able to help people outside the city of Nottingham after the closures of five of its specialist centres.

This is due to a decision by Nottinghamshire County Council, who say they are facing budget pressures, not to renew contracts with the charity this year.

Framework’s chief executive, Andrew Redfern, said: “The council has a legal duty to help homeless people. The Care Act obliges them to address support and care needs and thus avoid the exacerbations that end in a crisis. We tried to save these crucial services by asking everyone who benefits to make a small contribution. Sadly, they were unable to pool their resources in this way. We just couldn’t make it happen.”

“Rough sleeping is on the increase across the country but to date we have been able to limit the damage in Nottinghamshire. I fear the upward trend will now accelerate.”

Framework will continue to operate its council-funded emergency and supported accommodation services, which house people after they have become homeless.

These services, which had themselves been in jeopardy, will be sustained by funding from the Public Health Budget.

David Pearson, corporate director for Adult Social Care and Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, said:“The County Council is continuing to allocate almost £1m to Framework from this April to support services in four quick access homeless hostels across the county.

“Due to significant funding reductions from central government we are having to prioritise our budgets and reduce back office costs and we expect organisations that carry out work on our behalf to do the same to make our reduced funding go further.

“The council has had to prioritise our statutory services – those we must do – over discretionary services such as homeless support services.

“The floating support service provided by Framework, which targets people still in their own homes but identified as being at risk of homelessness, will cease from April 2016.

“District and borough councils have the legal responsibility for homelessness and are working with us and Framework to identify alternative sources of support for affected service users.

“District and borough councils will continue to offer housing advice and support to residents to help prevent homelessness.”