‘Think again’ is the message from homelessness charity Framework which says council budget cuts could force its Worksop hostel to close.
The Notts based charity says all of its emergency accommodation would shut and other vital support services would cease if Notts County Council goes ahead and axes £3.5 million from its funding.
Framework has branded the proposed cuts ‘devastating, unfair and catastrophic’, urging the council to re-think.
It wants the public to join in and speak out before consultation ends on 17th January.
“If these cuts happen there will be virtually no support for homeless people in Bassetlaw. This service could not run,” said Nick Pearson, service manager at Framework’s Potter Street accommodation.
Framework provides 12 rooms on site and always has a waiting list. It also has 25 ‘move-on’ flats on Gateford Road and Potter Street where people can still access support services but are a step closer to living independently.
Said Nick: “Some of these buildings have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. But most of our council funding goes on support work. These cuts would rip the heart out of our service.”
“What will happen to these vulnerable people? It’s not just our current clients, it’s people who will need us in the future. Homelessness could happen to any one of us.”
“I think it would be bad for Bassetlaw if we were not here. Worksop has a lot of hidden homeless - people who become homeless by fleeing abusive relationships, are in debt and in rent arrears for example.”
“If we closed you would not see the impact straight away but eventually there would be more people sleeping rough and begging.”
Nick explained that Framework is more than just a roof over people’s head, with education, volunteering and life skills courses on offer.
“This is not somewhere you can doss. There’s an expectation that you do something useful. And that can be quite difficult for people with drug, alcohol and mental health problems. But we actively challenge anyone who tries to just sit in their room.”
“Quite often it’s seen that people are taking out and not giving back. We want them to rejoin the community and become functioning citizens.”
“I do think our service users are worried. Many have spoken out against the proposed cuts and we hope the public will support us and do the same. We think there is a good chance of changing the council’s mind.”
Nick said Framework was used by a wide range of people, ranging from teenagers to people in middle and older age.
Ruth, 54, is one of them.
Not too long ago she had it all. She was married with a family, a good job and a four-bedroomed house.
But behind the scenes she was a victim of domestic violence and eventually she got divorced.
Forced to sell the family home, Ruth’s life began to take a tragic path.
As she started a new life in her own flat in Worksop, a spell of illness ended her 27-year civil service career.
And the damp, cold flat made her more ill, depressed and isolated. Ruth even tried to take her own life.
She said: “It all got on top of me. I foolishly decided to stop paying rent and I was threatened with eviction.”
Her mental health worker put her in touch with Framework and Ruth has never looked back.
“It was the first time I had felt safe in my own home for 20 years. I have been volunteering and learning skills for independence,” she said.
“We can all hit rock bottom. I never thought I would be in this situation.”
“I shall be forever grateful to Framework. They have given me a wonderful second chance at life. The care and effort these people put in is amazing. It’s disgusting it could have to close.”
Visit www.frameworkha.org/thinkagain to find out more and have your say.