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Evicted: Some of Tamworth's most vulnerable people being kicked out of homes

By Tamworth Herald  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

By Elise Chamberlain

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THIRTEEN of Tamworth's most vulnerable people are being kicked out of their homes. Residents with mental health issues living in supported housing in Bolehall have been told they have less than 10 weeks to find somewhere else to live.

The shock announcement follows Staffordshire County Council cutting its funding to the Metropolitan Support Trust.

The move has been slammed as "appalling" by Tamworth Borough Council Leader, Cllr Danny Cook.

"To have this funding just ripped away is pretty shocking. These are probably the most mentally-challenged people in Tamworth with serious issues and they really need to be protected by society and helped through this," he said.

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"Just to be told that they have nowhere to live in a matter of weeks – I just cannot believe that can happen in the 21st century.

"Tamworth Borough Council, under my leadership, is looking in to how we can stop these people falling through the cracks. We will do what we can to help them. We will seek out other funding where we can to support them."

For Leo Thomas, who has lived at the facility for nearly two years, the news is "so disappointing".

"We will be made homeless on September 30. We are all people with mental health problems and this scheme has helped us to get back on the right track, to get on with our everyday lives and we are so sad to see it go," said Leo (24).

"Without this scheme I would be struggling to cope," added Leo, who suffers from mild depression, anxiety and Asperger's Syndrome.

A spokesperson for care and support provider, Metropolitan, described the news as "extremely disappointing" as, without the funding the facility on Summerfield Close will be forced to close.

"Our priority now is to help our customers in finding alternative accommodation with the right level of support to meet their needs," said the spokesperson, who added that the notices of possession will ensure residents are treated as a priority for re-housing with Tamworth Borough Council.

The cut comes as part of a review into 200 schemes in the national Supporting People programme.

While a spokesperson for the county council wouldn't comment on the impact of funding cuts for Metropolitan residents, they said the needs of "vulnerable residents" must be at the heart of their new approach to support.

Alan White, Staffordshire County Council's Cabinet member for care, said this means fostering greater independence and less dependence for as many people as possible. However, he denied the cuts mean the council is "pulling out of supporting residents".

He said: "This review doesn't mean we are pulling out of supporting residents, far from it. Together with partners we will still be spending this year more than £100 million to help people with mental health issues, £100 million to support older people and £82 million to help residents with disabilities.

"However, instead of looking at areas such as mental health, homelessness, addiction or repeat offending in isolation, we want to offer a joined-up, county-wide approach which focuses more on preventing people falling into crisis and less on long term dependence on services."

A report on the cuts is being presented to Tamworth Borough Council's Cabinet on July 31. Ahead of the meeting, Cllr Cook said while he is "supportive of better targeting of resources", he fears the cuts will lead to greater costs for the county in the long-run.

"At the minute I am terrified for some very vulnerable people who will be let down badly because the money stops before we can plan for 'what next'? It's appalling," he said.

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2 comments

  • SercoHater  |  July 25 2014, 9:02AM

    Just another example of Tamworth's (and Britain's) transition towards a system which looks after the interests of the 1% Ruling Elite and does at little as it dare for those on the lowest rung. This is not a Party-political thing, it's been happening with the blessing and complicity of all traditional parties (Lab/Lib/Con) for decades now. They are part of that Elite too. Most have never had a "proper" job! Maybe we can start to redress this imbalance by only voting in non-Establishment Candidates at every Election (local and National) until traditional party representation becomes so low that they cannot "dare" any further and perhaps even begin to redress these moral wrongs? A growing hope is that the New Generation - politically enabled via their "always on", and at electronic-speeds, communications methods - will use them to collaborate and organise themselves, and us, into a New Independent Political Force (one with genuine morals and no Party allegiances) and do the job we all can see needs doing? Then, the history of Twenty Teens might additionally read " never, in the course of British history, did so few owe so much to so many". And houses across the town (and Nation) will show posters saying "I did that!"

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  • Abominate  |  July 25 2014, 8:33AM

    Words fail me- well almost. Not content with forcing the poor from their homes or leaving them the choice of 'heat or eat' through the atrocious Bedroom Tax, it seems that making folk homeless, making the most vulnerable suffer through contemptible benefits cuts is a Tory national pastime. While I applaud Danny cook's condemnation of this particular instance of cuts hurting the most vulnerable, he should consider his party's attitude to state support in general and perhaps reassess his allegiance to the 'party of pain'.

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