'Real risk' of increase in homeless due to cuts, council leader admits
HUNDREDS of people will be made homeless, the elderly isolated and volunteering will be hit hard if Derby City Council does not rethink its next budget, protesters have claimed.
Representatives from organisations across the city begged the council at a public meeting yesterday to change its mind over planned cuts for the next three years.
The council is proposing to slash £62 million in that time, due to cuts in its funding, inflation and Derby's growing population.
One move would see the amount for "housing-related services" such as hostels and advice slashed from £3.8m this year to £1.8m by 2014-15.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
But Pat Zadora, chairman and chief executive of the Padley Group, which helps Derby's homeless, said "hundreds more" people could be on the streets if the cuts went ahead and asked whether or not the council had factored in the cost of "people slipping into crisis".
She said the charity might have to close its 10-bed hostel in Becket Street unless a new arrangement could be reached with the council.
Mrs Zadora said: "We will see more sleeping in the street and increasing crime and anti-social behaviour.
"We need to ensure that the nightmare scenario of housing support services shutting their doors doesn't happen."
She added that the cuts would also hit groups like Action Housing, which works with people to help them stay in their own homes.
Council leader Councillor Paul Bayliss accepted their was a "real risk" of more homelessness but added that the authority had tough decisions to make and that it had to give priority to services it must provide by law.
David Richardson, chairman of Derby Live At Home Project, which runs lunch clubs and coffee mornings, said he feared for the service if the council went ahead with a 50% cut to its voluntary sector grant by 2014-15.
He said: "If elderly people are no longer able to live at home because they are depressed and lonely, they will become another cost for the council and NHS."
Plans to cut completely the council's current £60,000 funding to Wild Derby, which supports the city's parks and open spaces volunteer groups, also came under fire.
Derek Golson, secretary of Friends of Chellaston Wood, said Wild Derby gave members indemnity insurance. He said: "We wouldn't be able to volunteer without it."
Mr Bayliss told those at the meeting: "You have asked us not to cut funding but very few of you have come with other options."
About 80 people attended the event at the Assembly Rooms, which formed part of a public consultation on the budget, finishing this Friday.
The council is aiming to finalise its budget at a meeting on January 30.