Shelter At Risk of Closing Advice Services

  • Legal aid cuts threaten Shelter's advice services

    Shelter has fought against huge cuts to legal aid, which, during a period of increased demand, are a false economy

    Via Cambell Robb, The Guardian

    We have been informing staff at 10 of our advice services that their offices are at risk of closing in April. While we will be doing everything we can to keep the numbers as low as possible, if the proposals go ahead, up to 100 people would be made redundant. This is a significant proportion of our work - in total, we provide services in about 30 locations across England and Scotland. The impact on staff, and on local people in desperate circumstances with nowhere else to turn, will be huge.

    These proposed closures are a result of the huge cuts to legal aid in England against which Shelter campaigned vigorously. These cuts have left us facing a 50% reduction in the money we get for the face-to-face advice we give to tens of thousands of people every year. Thanks to careful planning, cost reduction and a concerted fundraising effort, we have been able to reduce the effects to some extent, but we simply cannot plug such a huge gap from other sources of funding. While service closures would always be an absolute last resort, we have no alternative but to make these proposals.

    And we aren't alone. A recent survey by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations found that a third of charity leaders expect to reduce staff in the next 12 months.

    What makes this challenge even more significant is that it comes against a backdrop of increased demand. Our research has shown that the number of people constantly struggling to pay their rent or mortgage has increased by 44% over the past year alone. Over the past three years, the number of people our helpline has assisted who are homeless or facing losing their home has risen by 80%. This April will see the introduction of a range of changes, including the "bedroom tax" and cuts to council tax benefit. In addition to the legal aid cuts, reductions in local authority budgets mean there will be less money, staff and services to deal with the problems created by unaffordable or poor housing.

    Set against the backdrop of rising living costs and high levels of unemployment, the consequences of this are almost too awful to contemplate. At Shelter, we will be trying to drive people to our helpline and website for advice, but there are certain issues for which there is no substitute for the more detailed response face-to-face advice enables. Undoubtedly, MPs and local councils will see a rise in demand for their services. However, there will be many people struggling to get by alone, unable to access the help and support they need.

    While many of the government's welfare reforms are designed to reduce the benefit bill or cut costs to the taxpayer, the long-term impact may prove many of the measures to have been a false economy.

     


Related articles

  • Read More

    CHARITY WORKS TOWARDS A NATIONAL PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS

    Prime minister, Theresa May and the first ministers of Scotland and Wales congratulated "Crisis" on its anniversary and gave an assurance to work hand in hand with them while on a quest to eradicate...

  • Read More

    THE FATE OF EU-FUNDED PROJECTS AND ITS EFFECT ON CHARITY SERVICES

    In March 2016, forecasts of growth were low and the government's own estimates put the Treasury's coffers £122bn poorer by 2020.The supreme court has also determined that MPs must approve the...

  • Read More

    INCREASE IN THREATS OF EVICTIONS FROM HOMES

    After analysing statistics from the Ministry of Justice, the housing charity (Shelter) found the following:In the past year, the number of people seeking advice from 'Shelter' on their eviction...

  • Read More

    CHARITIES, THEIR BRANDS, BENEFICIARIES AND HOW TO EFFECT CHANGE

    "Most charities exist because their founders believed the future could be different if they mobilised supporters", but Mandy Johnson of the Guardian believes"This vision is being lost."Charities are...

  • Read More

    Support for veterans to return to work

    Places for People hopes to support veterans into the workplace and also benefit from the skills and experience they have to offer, reports 24dash.All veterans applying for jobs in Places for People's...

  • Read More

    Charity registers as social landlord

    It has now registered its housing department as a housing association, Inside Housing reports.The charity set up Golden Lane Housing (GLH) in 1998, which has now registered to be a social landlord...

  • Read More

    Charity to develop app for people with disabilities

    The funding will enable the charity to develop and test the free app, called FlyCatcher, which could be on the market by 2016.The app uses iBeacon technology to send information through smartphones...

  • Read More

    Young people’s health harmed by fuel poverty

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change have reported that 10% of households in England were in fuel poverty.The charity, Turn2us have stated that 75% of the 2,060 adults in the PRS who were...

  • Read More

    Homelessness in Scotland

    Shelter Scotland stated that this percentage is ‘disproportionate' to the sector's size which makes up 13% of all housing in Scotland, Inside Housing reports. It was also mentioned that the number...

  • Read More

    Homelessness an ‘increasing trend’ in Wales

    Cais blames the lack of options available to individuals due to the change in the type of support that can be offered.The Chief Executive of Cais, Clive Wolfendale has described the problem of...

Briefing Signup

 
Quick Contact

Quick contact

Close

Contact us

T 0333 332 1991 (Local rate)

E info@supportsolutions.co.uk