By Beth Sharp Friday 01 November 2013 Updated: 01/11 08:00
VULNERABLE teenagers from Bromsgrove and Rubery could find themselves homeless if funding is slashed by 50 per cent.
Proposed cuts to four St Basils supported accommodation schemes will be put out to public consultation following a Worcestershire County Council cabinet meeting on Thursday (November 7).
If the green light is given to plans it could put homes in Bromsgrove and Rubery, as well as one in Redditch and a Kidderminster base which opens next month, at risk of having to close - although it is not yet known what the exact impact would be.
It comes as part of a £98 million cost-cutting plan which the county council has confirmed will include the reduction of funding available to early help and support services like St Basils.
Chief executive officer Jean Templeton said: “We are deeply concerned about the impacts these proposed funding cuts will have on some of the most vulnerable young people in the local community.
“In the last year we have seen a 57 per cent increase in referrals for housing-related support.”
She added the cuts had come at a time when the vital services needed more provisions.
A resident at the Bromsgrove scheme said: “St Basils has helped me so much in the last year, you really have no idea how amazing it is to have someone by your side when you have gone so long with no one there.
“If St Basils was not there my life would still be stuck in the cycle of drugs, crime, bad hygiene and a dirty, unclean living environment.”
Coun Peter McDonald, leader of the opposition Labour group at county council, told the Standard if the proposals went ahead there would a ‘surge of young people suddenly begging and sleeping rough on our streets’, adding the cuts would be a ‘kick in the teeth’ for the charity.
Council leader Adrian Hardman said: “Like many other public authorities Worcestershire County Council has less money to provide services and do the things that local people have said are important to them.
“This means we have to find new ways to provide services and will be reforming over the coming years, not be standing still.”
He added services such as St Basils were not part of the council’s core responsibilities, but they had previously provided funding on the basis it increased people’s independence and reduced the need for adult social care.
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