Fewer beds for homeless at risk – until the autumn
THE number of beds for Derby's homeless that the city council will stop funding by April is likely to be lower than expected.
It currently funds 557 hostel, refuge and shelter beds in the city and had been set to reduce that figure to 287 as part of budget cuts.
It has now offered extensions to six bed providers so they will continue to be funded until October this year.
This means it will now be reducing the number of beds to 377 by April.
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However, the authority has also said it expects to support only 180 beds from October.
Homelessness charities have previously said that the drop in funding will lead to hundreds more people being without a bed over the course of the 2013-14 financial year.
Councillor Baggy Shanker, the cabinet member responsible for housing, said: "The extra six months have been provided so we can consult with remaining refuges, hostel, and shelter providers to map out a way forward with the existing funding and any extra funding if we are able to secure it."
A report on the council's work to help the homeless, prepared for a meeting of its planning, housing and leisure board next week, says the budget reductions to its "housing-related support" spending over the next two years remain the same, despite the bed changes.
This means a drop from £6,675,000 in this financial year to £3,675,000 in the next and £1,675,000 in 2014-15.
Mr Shanker said: "We will be looking as a council to see whether we can find money to plug any of the funding gap that will be left from April 2014."
The report says the authority is considering using its remaining cash to "bolster" its Housing Options Service, so that it provides "housing advice and a homelessness service".
It says: "There will be focus placed on procuring accommodation in the private rented sector and working in partnership with private sector landlords.
"This will increase access to the private sector and will, at the same time, encourage improved housing standards and conditions."
The cuts to the housing support budget form part of £62 million of savings the authority says it must make over the next three years.