Homeless warning as Shelter faces cut backs
HOMELESS charity Shelter could stop giving out support at its Gloucestershire branch as a result of massive funding cuts.
It has seen its budget slashed by 50 per cent nationwide and is considering cutting back on its face-to-face advice service.
Among the areas facing the axe is the county branch with bosses warning it would have a massive impact on homeless people in Cheltenham and Gloucester.
The service, based in Saint Michael's Square, Gloucester, provides advice on legal issues for people looking at the prospect of life on the streets.
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Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "We are currently consulting staff.
"If these services have to close as a result of cuts to legal aid, this will be a massive blow not only to our staff, but to the people in the affected areas who will no longer be able to get face-to-face advice and support from Shelter.
"We will be doing all we can to ensure people can still get help with their housing problems through our helpline and website.
"Now is the very worst time to be taking away the housing safety net that helps people stay in their homes."
Brian Jones, chief executive of the Gloucester Emergency Accommodation Resource charity (GEAR), echoed the warning.
"Shelter is the only place that provides some kind of legal services to people who are having problems with housing," he added.
"If there is no one doing that, then it is going to mean the housing rights of people will not be as protected in the future.
"In all the austerity cuts we are seeing, my plea is that we need a little bit of compassion."
It comes just months after Gloucestershire county council decided to remodel its homeless provision.
Under the plans, emergency beds in Gloucester will be reduced by 13.
The new service will split the amount of beds available, with six in Cheltenham and eight in Gloucester.