Sheltered housing residents warn of “tragic consequences” as £1.8m of funding to be withdrawn
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Residents at a sheltered housing complex in Hethersett are warning the county council there could be 'tragic consequences' from their decision to stop funding the service.
From February 2018, Norfolk County Council is withdrawing £1.8m from sheltered housing support. £1.3m will be reinvested into a new service to support older people in their homes.
In an open letter to Norfolk County Council, residents at Woodcote Sheltered Housing Scheme said they are 'most concerned' at the decision to stop funding support, which has caused 'unwelcome anxiety'.
'At a time when schemes like ours have an increasing intake of tenants with pre-existing physical and mental conditions, needing and deserving support, the intention to withdraw funding is surely unwise,' they said.
'Unfortunately, the probability of tragic consequences due to previous reductions to our services, already an ever deepening concern for us, will now become intensified.
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'We strongly urge the council to reverse this potentially disastrous decision.'
Norfolk County Council said they are increasing the overall amount they spend on adult social services this year from around £1m a day currently.
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'However, the demand continues to increase and we have to transform the way we work in communities, so that we are able to ensure those most in need are able to receive the right support,' said a spokesman.
'We are reinvesting £1.3m in a new service, which will provide support for older people wherever they live and general support to prevent homelessness. We are doing this in conjunction with district councils who currently provide advice and support services for local residents.
'This has meant ceasing to fund sheltered housing support, which provides a different kind of support to residents than that received by people with the same needs, living in their own home. Ensuring older people can live in their own homes for longer and promoting their independence is a key priority for the council.
'We appreciate that this might be an unsettling time for residents at Woodcote, as well as those in other sheltered housing provision and we will be working with those that provide housing to ensure that residents' continue to receive the help they need via community resources, different services, or by people choosing to pay for a service themselves.'
Further cuts will have to be made
Jim Snijders has been a resident at Woodcote Sheltered Housing Scheme for more than three years and said they have been 'kept in the dark' about the pending cuts.
'Further cuts will have to be made like for example the early morning call,' said the 77-year-old. 'For some people that is important to make sure they are still alive.
'The other problem here is originally this place was meant to house people over 55 who were perfectly capable of looking after themselves. There are some people now with mental problems who have really just been dumped here with very little support apart from what they may or may not get from their family.'
It is understood cuts imposed by the county council will withdraw £292,500 of funding from Norwich City Council for housing related support in sheltered housing.
A further £61,432 is from Broadland Housing Sheltered, of which Woodcote is part.