A SAFETY net of funding is being kept to help those affected by cuts to Torbay Council's supporting people budget.
The service is facing the toughest cuts of all Torbay Council departments and charities have already warned it may hit the most vulnerable in Torbay and lead to the closure of some facilities such as Factory Row homeless hostel in Torquay.
The current budget for the service is £4.4million, and the proposal is to cut it by nearly half next year down to £2.5million and then down to £680,000 the following year, which will be retained as a 'safety net'. The total cut over two years is £3.2million.
The service is used by around 1,200 vulnerable people with a Torbay connection helping them to become independent through providing help and housing support.
It helps older people, homeless families, people with mental health issues, with learning disabilities, the disabled, young people, victims of domestic abuse, those with alcohol and drug problems and ex-offenders.
The council says it has no statutory requirement to provide these kind of services, and some other councils do not provide them, but Supporting People's work helps the council meet its statutory duties to care for the homeless, children, families and young people, deal with crime and disorder and improve public health.
The number helped has gone up from 929 in 2009/10 to 1,244 last year, the majority aged under 45.
But the council says it believes many of the vulnerable people who use the service will be helped out by other departments and organisations.
Chief executive Steve Parrock explained they had looked at Adult Social Care service, the largest budget in the council, and Supporting People together. The cuts made in Supporting People may be offset by care provided by adult services in some cases.
Adult Social Care is facing an 18 per cent cut over all, Supporting People 73 per cent.
Mr Parrock said they had started consultation with the groups and organisations involved. "The team is proposing to use the residual amount as a safety net to target where they feel the other agencies and organisations are potentially leaving gaps.
"No decisions have been made until the consultation runs it course."
He explained: "We didn't set out to do uniform salami slicing of services. We targeted and prioritised services taking into account the needs of the individual — but also the government's requirements, the mandatory services we have to provide.
"The reduction for Adult Social Care services and Supporting People combined was 21 per cent. Other areas are facing cuts of on average 24 per cent."
Among the cuts proposed are:
£135,800 cut in the young people support and accommodation service. This provides 45 units of accommodation for those aged 16 to 24 who would otherwise be statutorily homeless or children in need requiring statutory social work intervention. The proposal is to reduce the budget by 55 per cent.
The integrated families service comprising support in 14 accommodation units, 14 outreach and six emergency units for homeless families, could to be completely cut over two years with an £87,400 cut next year and £43,700 the following year.
The council's contribution to the domestic abuse outreach service to help victims stay in their own homes could be scrapped, by cutting £105,500 next year though it will be funded through public health domestic abuse reserves so there should be no impact.
£300,000 could be cut from the supported employment service for those with learning disabilities including those with Aspergers and autistic conditions. The proposal is to maintain the joint Project Search with South Devon College and Torbay Hospital.
Support for the Leonard Stocks Centre for the homeless would be cut by £150,000 next year, half of its council funding.
It is proposed to axe the funding of £239,800 next year for the Jatis project of 25 units of temporary accommodation for people in treatment for drug and alcohol dependance.
The £350,000 budget for the social inclusion floating support service providing short term help for people with housing crises could be axed next year.
The £358,700 budget for floating support for people in similar circumstances could be cut 100 per cent.
The £60,000 budget for 10 units of accommodation for criminal offenders with complex needs on licence who have a Torbay connection could be wiped out next year.
The £450,000 Reaching Out South West project which mostly helps people with mental health issues could be axed in 2015/16.
The budget for an Folks at Home outreach service which helps people move from residential care into extra care housing could be halved with a cut of £95,400 next year.
The £305,700 budget for sheltered housing supporting older people living in the social housing sector could be axed next year.
An £11,000 cut to the extra care scheme is proposed. This supports older people as an alternative to residential or nursing home.
The proposal is to axe the £39,400 budget for link workers who support the take up and monitoring of personal budgets. This is currently funded jointly with Torbay Southern Devon Healthcare Trust and others.
The £250,000 budget for personal budgets supporting people with learning disabilities and help people move out of residential care into extra care could be axed next year.
A review of staffing arrangements is proposed with a reduction of £53,200 next year and £186,000 the year after with potential redundancy costs. The department currently employs the equivalent of nine full time staff.