Gloucester homeless charity faces uncertain future
CHIEF Executive of Gloucestershire Emergency Accommodation Resource, Brian Jones, says homeless services have a fight on their hands to end the problem in Gloucester by 2015.
The night shelter is due to close following the news GEAR will no longer be contracted to provide emergency homeless services in the city.
Brian speaks ahead of tomorrow's rearranged Annual General Meeting of the charity when its future role in Gloucester is due to be discussed.
"Change is with us and how we react and move forward through the process of change is what matters, but there is an essential truth in the saying that all change is pain and all pain is change," he said.
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"GEAR will grow through this pain. Now we celebrate success.
"Seventeen years of good work, giving between two and three thousand different human beings emergency shelter.
"We celebrate also the people of Gloucestershire who over the years have provided all of the GEAR Projects with help and support in a number of ways. "There is a sense in which we could not have done what we have done without their help.
They are a tangible demonstration of Care by the Community.
"As we have said before Care by the Community negates the blame culture inevitably associated with Care in the Community which is done by others, and the only involvement the community has is to 'blame' the carer when something goes wrong.
"Inclusion gives everyone a responsibility for the weakest in our midst and does not waste time and valuable resources in pointing the finger.
"Over seventeen years the people of Gloucester have accepted this responsibility.
"In the challenges we face and react positively to is our hope for a future serving those with no voice.
"GEAR as we know, stands for Gloucestershire Emergency Accommodation Resource; it may well be that in the future we call ourselves something else as we will not be providing emergency accommodation once the Night Shelter closes.
"GEAR looks forward to participating in the new future."
"The new future developing GEAR's four main pillars, that we are left with after the Shelter closure, our Outreach Service, the Clinic, the Day Centre and the Dry Houses.
"Developing focus groups identifying areas of future need, looking at various aspects of what we have done, what we can do in the future.
"For GEAR there are other roads to be travelled and explored.
"I have to say that I treat with suspicion any claims that homelessness will end in Gloucestershire by 2015 as some are claiming.
I wish it was that simple. We would have done it long ago.
"The night shelter is closing because the revolving door syndrome where people leave and return was seen as a failing of the Shelter.
"The revolving door syndrome existed not because of night shelter failings but failings in post shelter community provision.
"What they have done in closing it is a little like saying that the revolving door syndrome in prisons which we recently heard about (where 73 per cent of discharged prisoners re offend within 12 months) is best dealt with by closing prisons.
"Instead they have concentrated on post prison community provision.
"I wish GEAR well on its onward journey and I pray for those homeless people I have grown to love."