Council cuts threaten vital services for vulnerable adults

Budget cuts proposed by Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Council will devastate established accommodation and support services for vulnerable and at-risk adults in Bath and surrounding communities, if they are approved by the Cabinet on 8th February.

The B&NES Homeless Partnership is preparing a collective response to the council’s proposal, to set out the significant impact that cuts would have on people from all walks of life.

With the rising cost of living and the housing crisis putting more people at risk of poverty, home insecurity or homelessness, the need for the threatened services is higher than ever.

Homelessness charity Shelter estimated that 154 people were homeless in B&NES at the end of 2023.

Furthermore, the latest figures from B&NES council show that 58 households were in temporary accommodation in March 2023, a 40% increase from the same period in 2022.

The council’s own data has also shown that B&NES unemployment rate has increased, with more people claiming unemployment-related benefits; 5,842 households are on the waiting list for social housing, up 12.5% from 2011; and an estimated 4,000 people would fall into absolute poverty last year.

The Homeless Partnership highlights that the cuts will put services to support people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, at risk – leading to a surge in rough sleeping as people will not be able to access support or accommodation to give them a secure home.

The cuts also risk driving up the crime rate, as life-changing interventions come too late to prevent people’s desperation.

And local healthcare systems will also come under pressure: 63% of people experiencing homelessness report having a long-term illness, while 82% have a mental health diagnosis.

Roanne Wootten, chair of the Homeless Partnership and Strategic Partnerships Director at Julian House, says,

“The human cost of these cuts is undeniable, and the ripple effects will impact every person living in B&NES – eroding community cohesion and economic stability, as well as putting the social services we all share under even greater pressure than they already are.

“Each person lifted out of poverty and homelessness becomes a taxpayer, a consumer and a contributor to an inclusive society. It is critical that the council re-think their proposals, and I urge the public to respond to their consultation to show their support for the services which help vulnerable adults when they need it most.”

Members of the public can respond to the council’s consultation by 5pm on 15th January online at Budget consultation 2024 to 2025 | Bath and North East Somerset Council (bathnes.gov.uk).

For more information, please contact:

Zoe Conn, Fundraising and Marketing Director – zoe.conn@julianhouse.org.uk – 07744529803