RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

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RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:24 pm

From the papers to be discussed at the Borough's Townships next week:

The Council currently commissions a range of services for homeless people, or those at

risk of becoming homeless, through Voluntary Sector grants.

- 33 -

The proposal is to save £300k as phased reduction over 2 years. Grants would be

reduced by 25% in 2013-14 and 75% in 2012-15.

A review of the services provided will be carried out in 2013-14. Any reduction in 2012-

15 will be subject to the outcome of this review.



General Impact

The services offer opportunities and activities to support the Council in promoting healthy

lifestyles, prevent harm caused by drugs and alcohol, assist with the transition from

unemployment to jobs and to prevent people from becoming homeless.

Impact on Service Users

The reduction in funding in 2013-14 may have a detrimental effect upon the range of

services and activities that can be provided and may impact on their ability to enable

people at risk of homelessness to sustain independence and to achieve improved

lifestyles.

The proposal may result in greater numbers of people accessing critical and statutory

services and people sleeping rough in the Borough.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:11 pm

Very, very disappointing; particularly so in the wake of 'Chill-Out'. I note that Manchester City Council have done something similar whilst at the same time forking out a reported £450,000 for a one-night 'free' concert in the Cathedral featuring Alicia Keyes.

I await Sparky's observations with anticipation and interest.

Perhaps a further 'Chill-Out' meeting is called for?
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:39 pm

Rochdale Council forked out £100,000 for a free concert whilst imposing these cuts - no conscience and no sense of priority.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:41 pm

As long as it 'Feels Good' just do it eh J?
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:43 pm

Well it brought lots of people into the town centre for a day or two - there you go, how to revive the town centre Rochdale Council/TCM style, spend £100,000 a weekend!

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:01 pm

Yes, but the concert-goers probably spent twice that much in our town centre's wonderful, eclectic variety of pound shops, phone shops and pawn shops.

You have to speculate to accumulate.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:56 pm

I'll speculate if it they had to choose between a relative living on the streets and a free concert they would quickly change their tune.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  teamplayer2 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:29 pm

No money to help the homeless yet money available for opening the river. I do not know if I fully agree with the opening of the river yet, but still find it rather odd they have no money but can find money to discuss projects like this. Seem able to find money from somewhere when it suits the politicians. Funny when they can find money when they want to.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  UP THE DALE on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:50 pm

How many times do you need to be told that the vast majority, if not all the money for opening up the river will come from other sources? The opening up of the river ,should have no negative financial effects on budgets.

Also if it works out well, the opening up of the river could help the town bring in more people into the town centre, spending money.

It is a bad policy to reduce money on spending on homelessness. This is because it will end up costing more than it saves, in monetary terms as well as causing so much human pain .
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  teamplayer2 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:05 pm

Whatever.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:35 pm

A very rude reply to someone correcting you, Teamplayer.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:41 am

Chill-Out came about because decisions had been taken to make cuts and changes to homelessness provision which were having a very negative effect and (it was believed) were putting lives at risk. HeywoodPP and others tried endlessly to raise their concerns but their voices had been ignored.

'The Chill-Out' was a way to get RMBC to listen. It worked. RMBC listened and made some positive changes. The homelessness changes that were made as a result were not perfect but they were an improvement on what was in place before.

Since then circumstances have changed greatly. The Government imposed cuts and changes to the way housing benefits are calculated and paid is going to have a huge impact locally and homelessness will increase. RMBC and others will need to ensure that they have strong, flexible and caring policies in place to cope effectively with these massive changes whilst at the same time funding from central Government is being viciously slashed to the bone.

This has brought about the need for a full review of homelessness policies within the Borough, covering those who are homeless as well as those who are vulnerably housed and at risk of homelessness. Chill-Out has been offered a chair at the table and an opportunity to voice concerns as well as have an impact on the way the new policies are drawn up.

The way Local Government is funded means that there is often very strict criteria in place governing how any monies are spent. This means that if RMBC receives monies to open the river it must be spent on exactly that or go back to whence it came. It is not always possible to rob Peter to pay Paul. With the limitations in place Chill-Out can only do its best to ensure that whatever budget is available is allocated in the best way possible to serve the needs of those on the sticky end of these cuts and that any services are properly thought through and delivered with care to the highest standard possible. To this end Pete and I have agreed to take part on behalf of Chill-Out. Fingers crossed we can help make a difference for the benefit of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.













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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  UP THE DALE on Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:56 pm

Very well said Spartacus. Good to see you and Pete will be at the table.

It's truly awful that authorities like Rochdale who have the biggest problems are having the biggest cuts.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  UP THE DALE on Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:58 pm

J wrote:A very rude reply to someone correcting you, Teamplayer.

I get used to it, "J". Smile

The reply below from Spartacus explains in the final paragraph why the opening up of the bridge will not effect the overall budget. But some will still say that opening up the bridge is going to lead to homelessness and other cuts.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:55 pm

Might I simply suggest that the review should address one simple question: the report says that the cuts of £300k 'may' have a detrimental effect on the most vulnerable; let the review see whether that 'may' is likely or not. If it is likely that the cuts of £300k WILL result in more people sleeping rough and the axing of the kind of services mentioned, then councillors should NOT vote in favour of those cuts but find the savings elsewhere.

The cuts made so far have had a detrimental effect on the vulnerable. I can tell you that the number of rough sleepers in Heywood has gone up given that there is no effective 'Rough Sleeper Service' left; the number of needy families we help has gone up. We are trying to do something about it and work with RMBC to provide whatever provision we can. However I feel like the Hebrews in Egypt at the beginning of the Book of Exodus - by adding cut to cut, RMBC is like the Pharoah first of all asking us to build a new way of providing, but then taking away the bricks and then taking away even the straw to make the bricks.

You can't run a Borough-wide homelessness service on Hail, Marys, RMBC! I think there should be a moratorium on cuts to care for the needy until after a review. At the moment they are proposing more cuts regardless.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:22 pm

It goes without saying, of course, that Sparks and I will only sit at the table if we are listened to and can exert a positive influence. Otherise, we are just there to add a bit of credibility to the whole thing.

As Sparks has previously reported, we do feel that the people we have worked with so far; Ian Jolley, Cllrs Linden and Hornby plus the CEO and other council officers really are people with good intentions who do care.

However, it is very disappointing that events, in the form of very severe central government cuts on the council cuts have overtaken us. There have been times when the cynic in me wonders if we've been sold a pup by getting involved but I am satisfied that people really do want to do the very best with what they have. Will it be enough? Far too early to tell but the word on the streets from people who work with homelessness on a daily basis is that times have never been tougher and are set to get even worse.

The provision for the homeless is, at the best of times, so basic that cuts of any kind cause immediate additional hardship to a group that is least able to absorb them.

The main difference for me personally, is that prior to 'Chill-Out' it was difficult to detect an ounce of compassion in the council's then decision to slash funding and cut beds. Now, at least we are working with people who seem to be of good faith and who are struggling to meet the statutory provision because of the cuts.

To address the poser in the subject line, my own view is that these cuts not only 'could' cause an increase in homelessness but they will. In addition, they will make it increasingly tougher for those already out on the streets whose well-documented poor-health and reduced life expectancy already puts some of them in the 'human mayfly' category.

It's a mess.

As said, these are my personal views and not necessarily those of 'Chill-Out'.


Last edited by Councillor Duxbury on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:42 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:36 pm

I agree with what you say, Cllr Duxbury.

But at the end of the day RMBC are proposing tO cut services by £300 000. That is their proposal and it will be their decision. It would help if we knew what alternatives were considered? Is there, for example, a painting languishing in a basement that could be sold? Given that we have no Mayor in Heywood, why not sell the Heywood Mayoress' chain?

I am against the selling of our heritage BUT when a report from RMBC asks members to support cuts that it admits may well increase in more rough sleepers, then what are the alternatives?

I do believe that their are RMBC voices that see the council and voluntary sector working together for the vulnerable. The danger is that at this rate there will be no council provision left and it will all be left to the voluntary sector which, without council support, will be unable to cope!
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  teamplayer2 on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:41 pm

Well yourself and Sparks tried your best and no one can ask anymore of you. Just be proud of yourselves on what you have tried to do but it is the cutbacks and an heartless Tory/Lib coalition that seems to beat everyone at the moment and getting worse. Until we get a government with a lot more heart and caring everyone is going to keep losing.

It is obvious the Toffs in charge do not care.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:43 pm

Heywoodpp wrote:Might I simply suggest that the review should address one simple question: the report says that the cuts of £300k 'may' have a detrimental effect on the most vulnerable; let the review see whether that 'may' is likely or not. If it is likely that the cuts of £300k WILL result in more people sleeping rough and the axing of the kind of services mentioned, then councillors should NOT vote in favour of those cuts but find the savings elsewhere.

I do not disagree with you, HeywoodPP. I have not doubt whatsoever that cuts of £300k will be felt and will effect the provision provided for the homeless and those at risk and agree that if at all possible the money should be found elsewhere.

However, the practicalities are that RMBC have had their income cut by the Government and must cut their cloth to fit. Like yourself, I would much rather see well-dressed departments being given a boiler suit rather than a shroud being run up for the more vulnerable members of our communities. Unfortunately, it appears that a lot of the income RMBC receives is "ring fenced" and it is not possible to move it from one area to another. That being the case RMBC has to deal with the fact there is only X amount of money in the pot which can be spent in this area and Z amount required to provide what they are providing now. If they have not got the money they simply cannot spend it. It is the same dilemma being faced by the millions of us in the UK who are struggling to make ends meet .

I'm not defending it or saying it's right just trying to say it as it is. The Government and global economy is playing the tune we are all being forced to dance to -- with exception of the stinking rich.

Heywoodpp wrote:The cuts made so far have had a detrimental effect on the vulnerable. I can tell you that the number of rough sleepers in Heywood has gone up given that there is no effective 'Rough Sleeper Service' left; the number of needy families we help has gone up. We are trying to do something about it and work with RMBC to provide whatever provision we can. However I feel like the Hebrews in Egypt at the beginning of the Book of Exodus - by adding cut to cut, RMBC is like the Pharoah first of all asking us to build a new way of providing, but then taking away the bricks and then taking away even the straw to make the bricks.

You can't run a Borough-wide homelessness service on Hail, Marys, RMBC! I think there should be a moratorium on cuts to care for the needy until after a review. At the moment they are proposing more cuts regardless.

Again, I do not disagree. I would love to see the needy placed at the top of the list where they rightly should be. However, as per my previous comment, it is not as though RMBC have the money in their pockets and can hold on to it until after a review. They simply do not have the money. If someone out there knows otherwise please do point in the direction where it can be found.

RMBC have recognised (as most people will) the dire measures they are being forced to take will have consequences. I wish there were some rabbits to be pulled out of the hat. I suppose I can keep on wishing but sadly at this moment I am not too optimistic.

Like Councillor Duxbury I am speaking here as an individual rather than as a member of Chill-Out.




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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:45 pm

Heywoodpp wrote:Is there, for example, a painting languishing in a basement that could be sold? Given that we have no Mayor in Heywood, why not sell the Heywood Mayoress' chain?

Perhaps you could use your friends in high places in Rome to sell off one or two rare tomes from the Vatican library HPP?

I believe that there may be a semi-valuable painting by reknown local artist Walter Kershaw of Cllr Colin Lambert under the Town Hall portico puffing away. Perhaps that could be flogged off along with 'A Special Pleader' and Heywood's mayoral baubles?

Perhaps Middleton could be persuaded to raffle off Cllr Terry Linden's 'Book of Bad Jokes'?
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:51 pm

Sparks, surely you are not uncritically swallowing the RMBC line that so much is ring fenced that they can't find £300 000 to avoid these cuts? Yes much of their income is ring fenced but surely not all of it? Surely not even half of it?
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:56 pm

Perhaps 'Chill-Out' and others need to submit formal objections whilst the spending plans are still in consultation? The consultation ends in January.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:01 pm

What's needed, surely, is both to find ways of plugging the gaps that are emerging in services AND vigorously to oppose the cuts both in funding from central government and in the way local government chooses to apportion those cuts?
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:25 pm

Heywoodpp wrote:Sparks, surely you are not uncritically swallowing the RMBC line that so much is ring fenced that they can't find £300 000 to avoid these cuts? Yes much of their income is ring fenced but surely not all of it? Surely not even half of it?

Not at all, I thought you might have known me better than that from your involvement with Chill-Out.

I'm just stating that I recognise it is not so easy to move monies around.


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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:00 pm

Spartacus wrote:

I'm just stating that I recognise it is not so easy to move monies around.



Spartacus:

It's not that easy, but Virement is no stranger to "local" funding and ways of operating budgets.

The omnipresent DELEGATED POWERS exists for Executive-level RMBC officers and, while some may consider prior usage might have been for subjective personal interests, (what a rumour mill this town has!) I very much doubt that criticism would result from such spend on the most vulnerable.

Ring Fences 'speak' sounds a bit like council Alley Gates ... very much subject to local circs, evidenced social needs and duties of care.


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