Government cuts '˜could hit homeless', says Sheffield charity

A Sheffield homeless charity says shelters could be forced to close if the Government goes ahead with planned cuts.

Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 12:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 13:26 pm
Homeless charity Emmaus Sheffield. The courtyard where clients live and work.

Prime Minister Theresa May intends to push through cuts to housing support and housing benefit proposed by the former chancellor George Osborne.

But Graham Bostock, who runs the Sheffield branch of homeless support charity Emmaus, said the cuts would have a huge impact.

“Just our one project alone with 18 people - 18 formerly homeless people - would again be homeless,” he said. “Once again the bill being picked up by the tax payer. If we’re looking at just cost alone it’s crazy - it just doesn’t add up at all.

“If hostels close down one after another, which they would do without housing benefit, these people will be back on the streets. Basically, we would be back in a scenario where they would be needing extra health care. Some would become a public nuisance because they couldn’t handle the problems they’ve got.

“You would have all these people thrown out into the street with nothing. The human cost, you just couldn’t measure it, it’s crazy.”

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New research by Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey suggests almost 80,000 families a year could become homeless by 2020 unless measures are taken to address spiralling homelessness.

But a Government spokesman called it ‘unnecessary scaremongering’, adding: “The truth is statutory homelessness remains less than half the 2003-04 peak, but we know one person without a home is one too many.

“That’s why we are investing over £500m to both tackle homelessness and prevent it happening in the first place. We also continue to spend around £90bn a year on working age benefits, to ensure a strong safety net for the most vulnerable.

“The causes of homelessness are varied and complex, so across Government we are considering how to improve services, including around mental health and addiction support.”

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