Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Shelter forced to close service in Borders

May 12 2011
Charity expresses its “deep disappointment” after funding cut

Government cuts are continuing to impact on the services that provide vital help for homeless people in Scotland. The latest region to be affected is the Scottish Borders, where Shelter Scotland has been forced to close its local homelessness advice service.

Shelter Scotland has voiced its “deep disappointment” at having to end the project, after funding for the service was terminated.

The centre, which was established in 2007, has advised more than 430 people. During the four years of operation, the centre’s staff have helped many Borders residents avoid both first-time and repeat homelessness.

It is a disheartening end for this branch of Shelter, coming after the charity expressed anxiety in the latter half of last year about Scottish Borders Council’s waning support. In response to the concerns raised by Shelter, the council issued a statement promising action: “We are at the moment restructuring our homeless services to ensure that wherever possible homelessness can be prevented and we are confident that, by the government deadline of 2012, we will be in a strong position to comply with the legislative requirements of the Housing Act.”

Despite the failure of this promised intervention, Graeme Brown, the director of Shelter Scotland, has recognised that the decision was “tough” for the financially constrained council.

With the rate of homeless applications in the Scottish Borders continually rising, the decision to cut the Shelter service comes at a fragile time for the economy. Brown understands the financial costs associated with homelessness, saying:

“With the cost of just one case of homelessness conservatively estimated at £5,000, we just hope that cutting homelessness advice services doesn’t turn out to be a false economy.” 

• Homeless people in the Scottish Borders who need advice can still visit or call Shelter Scotland free on 0808 800 4444