We are making an emergency appeal for homeless offenders.
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Impending Closure 31st March 2019
Tragically our services in Kent are set to close on 31 March 2019. This is because Kent County Council (KCC) have made it clear that its funding of our support work will cease. This will result in our 37 clients (plus Homegroup’s 42 clients) becoming homeless, and will completely remove this provision in the future.
Last year, KCC had indicated that they had wanted the National Probation Service and the Community Rehabilitation Company (SEETEC) to take over this funding. In good faith, we (and Homegroup), entered direct detailed discussions with NPS/CRC in October but unfortunately, they confirmed earlier this month that this was not possible.
As a result, we are in the process of making plans for the decanting of our services and have been left with no alternative but to give notice to our clients this month. We have clients in several venues across Kent and they in turn have local connections across the county.
We are left extremely concerned that no visible contingency planning has been put in place, as is good practice in such a situation. We have consistently asked for assistance and assurances from KCC in this regard since November but they have not responded.
We are particularly concerned that in recent single homelessness commissioning decision-making, KCC have been clear that their new provisions will not prioritise or possibly even allow services for this group in the future.
Districts and Boroughs have stated that they are deeply concerned that because our clients will no longer be housed by us, they ultimately will be requested to provide emergency accommodation.
Kent Police are particularly concerned that offenders, including those on the sexual offences register and those with violent offences, will be leaving our services next month, many mid-way through support plans and with no current plan for their re-accommodation.
Co-commissioning agreements with other stakeholders have been used in other areas, but not explored in Kent.
In this context, we are asking KCC officers for their response to the following questions:
- Will KCC assume responsibility regarding working with us, to plan a safe exit strategy which includes sourcing alternative accommodation for our vulnerable clients?
- Where are offenders with support needs in Kent to be housed and supported, once this provision is removed?
- Will KCC work in partnership with other stakeholders to agree a co-commissioning agreement, to ensure that a specialist offender service is maintained and remains open in Kent, which we (as do other stakeholders) consider essential?
We have set up an appeal to provide vital support for those we support in the face of funding cuts. The donations will help us to support those in our services to move into private accommodation wherever possible, and to give them funding and support to help them rebuild their lives.
Closure of Kent Services is still in progress and we continue to assist a few remaining clients with move-on.
We are making an emergency appeal for this situation.
Please click here to donate.
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