Government slammed for failing to fund case worker
PUBLISHED: 13:16 30 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:22 15 June 2010
A LEADING East Devon councillor has criticised the Government for reneging on an agreement over funding for a case worker to prevent homelessness among young people.
A LEADING East Devon councillor has criticised the Government for reneging on an agreement over funding for a case worker to prevent homelessness among young people.Councillor Miss Jill Elson, EDDC's portfolio holder for communities, said the council was due to receive £10,000 as a 'reward' for its contribution to reducing the number homeless young people in Devon.But the Government has reneged on the agreement to pay out over £1 million to the eight district councils in Devon this year. Even when funding is provided next year, it will be only half the sum promised, with the other half held back until 2010.Jill Elson said: "It seems wrong that we and our partner districts across Devon are being made to wait for this money, which we desperately need to continue doing the work that we - and the Government - wants to see done. This is an issue of trust and the Government is failing us very badly".In April 2005, a voluntary agreement was negotiated between the Government and the eight local housing authorities in Devon to reduce youth homelessness. This was known as LPSA Priority 7: Preventing Homelessness and Reducing Repeat Homelessness among Vulnerable Young People. In order to achieve LPSA Priority 7, an ambitious target was set to reduce the number of 16 to 17-year-olds and 18 to 20-year-old care leavers accepted as homeless and in priority need by 50% from 382 in April 2005 to 191 in March 2008. The total number of homelessness acceptances at the end of March 2008 was 202. Although the target was exceeded by 11 acceptances, under the agreement the Devon councils are due to receive £1,388,476 in reward money. This 'reward' money was expected to be available to the district councils in 2008/09 to continue to fund this homelessness prevention work.The Government have indicated that none of the money will be paid over until April 2009. Even then, it will provide only half of the expected funds, with the remaining half to be provided by April 2010.EDDC should have received £10,000 in 2008/09 to help fund a full-time caseworker working with young people and preventing homelessness. The full cost of this post will now fall on the Council and will have an impact on the funding of other services that help homeless households.
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