Restore’s cash crisis could cause misery for homeless in York

York Press: : Founders of charity Restore, Barrie Stephenson and Ed Hambleton, at their office : Founders of charity Restore, Barrie Stephenson and Ed Hambleton, at their office

A CHARITY which provides safe homes for vulnerable people is facing financial crisis after benefit changes saw its monthly income slashed.

Restore runs supported housing schemes for people who might otherwise end up sleeping rough.

It rents seven properties across York with its own staff and volunteers to support their tenants who include people with mental health problems and drug and alcohol dependencies.

But since March, ten of their tenants have seen their housing benefit payments halved by City of York Council, meaning Restore’s monthly rental income has dropped by £5,000, putting the charity into dire financial straits. Chairman Barrie Stephenson said the charity received a letter on March 6, explaining that ten of the tenants would in future only receive a lower “local housing payment”.

Complex benefit rules previously meant their tenants received a higher rate of housing benefit because of the extra support they needed, but the council has told Restore that auditors have advised it no longer needs to fund supported housing for people who, like Restore’s tenants, receive Jobseeker’s Allowance.

It is a situation the council says many local authorities are facing, but without the specialist support Restore’s staff can provide, Barrie said many of their tenants will return to their “chaotic lifestyles” and could lose their homes.

The charity has appealed against the council decision and is taking the matter to a tribunal.

In the meantime, it is having to use its own funds to cover the shortfall. Barrie added: “The tribunal could take anything from three to eight months to be heard, but we don’t have a bottomless pit of reserves to keep things going.”

Thanks to emergency donations from its supporters Restore has enough cash to keep going until Christmas, but the worry remains that the case may not be heard in time and the charity could fold and leave all its 26 tenants homeless.

The wrangle also means Restore’s expansion plans to take on further properties in York, and set up special housing projects for young people, have gone on hold.

With the case awaiting a legal judgement, the council has declined to comment in detail, but has said it commissions supported housing and refers those eligible to the right place.

Pauline Stuchfield, City of York Council’s Assistant Director of Customer and Business Support Services, said: “Where such claim reviews are disputed, we revisit the case applying the Housing Benefit and Council Tax regulations 2006 and informing claimants of the decision. Should an appeal be requested this is taken to Tribunal Services for a final decision.”

 

Chris stayed off streets

Chris was 19 when he was referred to Restore by City of York Council’s Resettlement Services. He was too old to stay in the Howe Hill young persons’ hostel which had previously been his home, but was not ready to find a home of his own and live independently.

He had nowhere else to go, and without Restore’s help, Chris said he would have found himself homeless. Even now, the loss of the charity’s services would be disastrous. Chris said: “If my accommodation was withdrawn I’d probably have to sofa surf or, worst case, be back on the streets.”

Now, 20, his support workers say Chris will soon be ready to move on, and Restore workers are helping him with the complicated processes of finding new housing to move on to.

Besides all this the charity has given him invaluable emotional support, built up his skills and grow in confidence, and helped him sort out his career prospects and organise training courses so he can go on to find work and live an independent life.

Comments (9)

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1:01pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Eddy James says...

If you can help, please visit restoreyork.co.uk and click donate. Thanks for your support.
If you can help, please visit restoreyork.co.uk and click donate. Thanks for your support. Eddy James
  • Score: 11

2:07pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Jack Ham says...

Given the crucifix in the middle of the logo does any of your work go towards promoting religion?
Given the crucifix in the middle of the logo does any of your work go towards promoting religion? Jack Ham
  • Score: -1

2:14pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Blythespirit says...

This is a really mean and cynical cut. The services Restore provide are absolutely vital to their clients and the community as a whole. Restore gives these young people the support they need, and can't get anywhere else, to actually make something of their lives. If the support was not there a lot of these young people would end up in prison or with severe addictions... either way the burden would be far greater on our public services. Most of Restore's clients haven't had the greatest start in life but Restore does offer them chance of a much better future.
This is a really mean and cynical cut. The services Restore provide are absolutely vital to their clients and the community as a whole. Restore gives these young people the support they need, and can't get anywhere else, to actually make something of their lives. If the support was not there a lot of these young people would end up in prison or with severe addictions... either way the burden would be far greater on our public services. Most of Restore's clients haven't had the greatest start in life but Restore does offer them chance of a much better future. Blythespirit
  • Score: 12

3:15pm Thu 19 Jun 14

asd says...

Unfortunately this is only one of many services that will have cuts. What a caring Goverment we have, lots of cuts to funding to vulnerable people and services but then give a nice little tax break for the more wealthy in SOCIETY (sucks)
Unfortunately this is only one of many services that will have cuts. What a caring Goverment we have, lots of cuts to funding to vulnerable people and services but then give a nice little tax break for the more wealthy in SOCIETY (sucks) asd
  • Score: 2

3:38pm Thu 19 Jun 14

YorkPatrol says...

asd wrote:
Unfortunately this is only one of many services that will have cuts. What a caring Goverment we have, lots of cuts to funding to vulnerable people and services but then give a nice little tax break for the more wealthy in SOCIETY (sucks)
Perhaps those wealthy people deserve a tax break given how much they have already contributed to the state when compared to the less well off who contribute next to jack all.

I despise people who target the rich and wealthy branding them criminals. The majority work extremely hard, employee large numbers of staff, support charities etc and contribute significantly to the UK economy, like myself
[quote][p][bold]asd[/bold] wrote: Unfortunately this is only one of many services that will have cuts. What a caring Goverment we have, lots of cuts to funding to vulnerable people and services but then give a nice little tax break for the more wealthy in SOCIETY (sucks)[/p][/quote]Perhaps those wealthy people deserve a tax break given how much they have already contributed to the state when compared to the less well off who contribute next to jack all. I despise people who target the rich and wealthy branding them criminals. The majority work extremely hard, employee large numbers of staff, support charities etc and contribute significantly to the UK economy, like myself YorkPatrol
  • Score: -12

11:35pm Thu 19 Jun 14

FarmersBlonde says...

Is the charity's role to take tenants housing benefit and rent houses with it? How much are the charity contributing? Seems to me that they need to do some fundraising. Might seem harsh, but most charities don't have the luxury of relying on the government for most of their funding.
Is the charity's role to take tenants housing benefit and rent houses with it? How much are the charity contributing? Seems to me that they need to do some fundraising. Might seem harsh, but most charities don't have the luxury of relying on the government for most of their funding. FarmersBlonde
  • Score: 0

9:46am Fri 20 Jun 14

CommonSense!! says...

YorkPatrol wrote:
asd wrote:
Unfortunately this is only one of many services that will have cuts. What a caring Goverment we have, lots of cuts to funding to vulnerable people and services but then give a nice little tax break for the more wealthy in SOCIETY (sucks)
Perhaps those wealthy people deserve a tax break given how much they have already contributed to the state when compared to the less well off who contribute next to jack all.

I despise people who target the rich and wealthy branding them criminals. The majority work extremely hard, employee large numbers of staff, support charities etc and contribute significantly to the UK economy, like myself
Couldn't have put it better myself.

When I already contribute much more than a poor person, and at the same time take less, why should I be hammered for yet more?
[quote][p][bold]YorkPatrol[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]asd[/bold] wrote: Unfortunately this is only one of many services that will have cuts. What a caring Goverment we have, lots of cuts to funding to vulnerable people and services but then give a nice little tax break for the more wealthy in SOCIETY (sucks)[/p][/quote]Perhaps those wealthy people deserve a tax break given how much they have already contributed to the state when compared to the less well off who contribute next to jack all. I despise people who target the rich and wealthy branding them criminals. The majority work extremely hard, employee large numbers of staff, support charities etc and contribute significantly to the UK economy, like myself[/p][/quote]Couldn't have put it better myself. When I already contribute much more than a poor person, and at the same time take less, why should I be hammered for yet more? CommonSense!!
  • Score: -4

11:51am Fri 20 Jun 14

andyjon12 says...

Stories like this are going to be all too familiar. So called welfare reform is having a devastating affect on the most vulnerable people in society. The people who implement these crass polices are criminals, pure and simple. Equally to blame are the so called professionals (who are paid by the state), these people are toothless; social workers, teachers, case workers, support workers, doctors etc - should be making far more noises than they are doing. They are equally to blame for having to deal with the consequences of welfare reform, but saying nothing that will wake the public up to what is happening. They, the government, the opposition and the media are an utter disgrace in allowing this to happen.
Stories like this are going to be all too familiar. So called welfare reform is having a devastating affect on the most vulnerable people in society. The people who implement these crass polices are criminals, pure and simple. Equally to blame are the so called professionals (who are paid by the state), these people are toothless; social workers, teachers, case workers, support workers, doctors etc - should be making far more noises than they are doing. They are equally to blame for having to deal with the consequences of welfare reform, but saying nothing that will wake the public up to what is happening. They, the government, the opposition and the media are an utter disgrace in allowing this to happen. andyjon12
  • Score: 2

1:05pm Sun 22 Jun 14

dribblur says...

YorkPatrol wrote:
asd wrote:
Unfortunately this is only one of many services that will have cuts. What a caring Goverment we have, lots of cuts to funding to vulnerable people and services but then give a nice little tax break for the more wealthy in SOCIETY (sucks)
Perhaps those wealthy people deserve a tax break given how much they have already contributed to the state when compared to the less well off who contribute next to jack all.

I despise people who target the rich and wealthy branding them criminals. The majority work extremely hard, employee large numbers of staff, support charities etc and contribute significantly to the UK economy, like myself
Actually the poor contribute more of a percentage of their income than the rich and this has become increasingly worse since Thatcher due to Council Tax and increased VAT. To say that someone who has £70 a week to live on after paying out on rent, tax and bills whilst working a 45 hour week on the minimum wage is fair compared to millionaires receiving income tax breaks and low corporate tax so they have £7000 a week to live on is fundamentally criminal, especially when these millionaires are profiteering from zero hour contracts and slave wages enforced by the Government Work Program (JSA of £71 for a 37.5 hour week = ~£2 p/hr) or are in fact not even paying U.K tax like most of the high street shops. Get your facts right YorkPatrol.
[quote][p][bold]YorkPatrol[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]asd[/bold] wrote: Unfortunately this is only one of many services that will have cuts. What a caring Goverment we have, lots of cuts to funding to vulnerable people and services but then give a nice little tax break for the more wealthy in SOCIETY (sucks)[/p][/quote]Perhaps those wealthy people deserve a tax break given how much they have already contributed to the state when compared to the less well off who contribute next to jack all. I despise people who target the rich and wealthy branding them criminals. The majority work extremely hard, employee large numbers of staff, support charities etc and contribute significantly to the UK economy, like myself[/p][/quote]Actually the poor contribute more of a percentage of their income than the rich and this has become increasingly worse since Thatcher due to Council Tax and increased VAT. To say that someone who has £70 a week to live on after paying out on rent, tax and bills whilst working a 45 hour week on the minimum wage is fair compared to millionaires receiving income tax breaks and low corporate tax so they have £7000 a week to live on is fundamentally criminal, especially when these millionaires are profiteering from zero hour contracts and slave wages enforced by the Government Work Program (JSA of £71 for a 37.5 hour week = ~£2 p/hr) or are in fact not even paying U.K tax like most of the high street shops. Get your facts right YorkPatrol. dribblur
  • Score: 2

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