Homeless 'could break law to find shelter' as hostel for young closes
YOUNG people living at a Derby hostel say they could be on the streets and even breaking the law because city council cuts mean the service will close.
The authority is ending its funding to Activ8, leading to the charity telling its 25 residents that they must be leave this month.
A spokeswoman for the organisation says it will ensure none of the 16-to-24-year-olds at the site will be "left without a roof over their heads".
But the young people say they have no idea what will happen to them, with some saying they would break the law to get shelter.
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They spoke out at a meeting held at Activ8 so they could put questions to city councillor Fareed Hussain, cabinet member for adults and health, and Derby North MP Chris Williamson.
Matt Allen, 18, who has lived at Activ8 for over a year, said: "I will do whatever I need to live. I'll break into an abandoned house and sleep there if I have to."
Mr Allen said that, in the meantime, he was doing his best to make friends so he had a better chance of "sofa-surfing".
Ryan Hickton, 20, ended up homeless after falling out with a relative, with whom he used to live. He moved into Activ8, Mount Carmel Street, a year ago. He said: "I can't move back in with my parents because they've just agreed to take on my niece and nephew and there's not enough space. I'll probably end up sleeping under a bridge."
The funding for Activ8 came from the council's "housing-related support" budget which is being cut from this financial year's £6,675,000 to £3,675,000 in 2013-14.
The Labour-led authority says the reduction is down to cuts in its grant from the Government but Tory opposition councillors say money could be found to fund more beds.
The number of beds the council funds for the city's homeless will drop from the current 556, to 179 in October. After yesterday's meeting, Mr Hussain said news that Activ8 would not keep running had "come as a surprise".
He said: "I will be talking to the council on Monday and will assign someone to make sure residents are helped to find accommodation."
Activ8 has been open since 2001, and is run by Stonham, a division of housing charity Home Group. Alan Ryan, Home Group client services director, said the city council had "withdrawn all funding for the project".
He said: "We made residents aware in December that Activ8 would close. Since then, we've been working to find alternative accommodation for them.
"It is the legal responsibility of the council to tackle homelessness but we will make sure no client will be left without a roof over their head."