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Threat to Torbay homeless centre raised in Parliament

By HETinaCrowson  |  Posted: December 31, 2013

  • The Leonard Stocks Centre in Torquay

THE threat to the future of Torquay's homeless hostel has been raised in Parliament.

The Leonard Stocks centre at Factory Row is facing damaging grant cuts by Torbay Council and volunteers running the centre have warned it could face closure.

Torbay Lib Dem MP Adrian Sanders has warned that the £150,000 grant cut proposed by Tory Mayor Gordon Oliver could affect many dozens of vulnerable people.

He told the House of Commons: "A huge range of hostels and temporary accommodation schemes have been the bulwark of the response to homelessness, quite often for those who do not fit the priority needs assessments of local authorities, as well as those who do.

"Many are run by local charities and although they often have generous benefactors, they are reliant on public funding to stay solvent. The Government's strategy from 2012 was accompanied by promises that funding for such organisations would be protected as much as possible, with more than £400 million being devolved to local authorities and voluntary groups.

"Unfortunately, that does not lead to steady investment on the ground. More than half of all homelessness services are seeing cuts in their funding, and that will become far worse when local authorities start to make cuts for 2014 onwards.

"In my constituency, for example, the elected mayor is consulting on cutting £150,000 from the Leonard Stocks centre. If that goes through, it would make the whole project financially unviable and leave many dozens of vulnerable people every year with nowhere else to go.

"We urgently need a solution to stop local authorities cutting these services indefinitely. If the Government were to look at a ring fence or upgrading the statutory protections for homeless people, we could see a great improvement and not the impending social disaster that might occur in my constituency and in other places."

He is awaiting a response from Government.