Liberal Democrats Challenge County’s Homelessness Model

July 16, 2012 11:53 AM

The Liberal Democrat group on Gloucestershire County Council has submitted a legal challenge under the council's constitution after the Tory administration last week approved a new model for providing homelessness services for adults with complex needs.

The legal challenge known as a 'call-in' will halt the competitive Homeless man sleeping rough.tender process for awarding two 5 year contracts until the councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee can meet to review the process that led to the cabinet decision.

GEAR (Gloucester Emergency Accommodation Resource) Projects, which has provided many services for homeless people in the city including a night shelter for single homeless men and women, a day centre and a health clinic has supported the 'call-in'.

Brian Jones CEO of GEAR Projects said:

"We are an organisation committed to meeting the needs of, and improving outcomes for homeless people, we have some grave concerns about the model approved for the future provision of homelessness services.

"The new model proposes a joined-up approach, yet, the one-stop day provision, award-winning health clinic and move-on houses would be put under considerable threat.

"The commissioning of two Shelters one (six beds) in Cheltenham and one (eight beds) in Gloucester to the possible demise of Gloucester's Night Shelter will only make things worse increasing the number of homeless people with or without connections to Gloucestershire living on the streets."

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:

"In spite of an estimated total combined value of up to £1.5m for these contracts. The new model reduces and puts at risk much needed direct access provisions such as Gloucester's Night shelter and the Vaughan Centre.

"The lease on Gloucester's Night shelter expires in February 2013. The Shelter is always full with outreach workers dealing with an increased number of people living on the streets. It is therefore vital for direct access provisions such as the Night shelter not to be reduced, but instead given a long-term future in Gloucester for all homeless people. Something that this administration has chosen to ignore. "