Lifeline for vulnerable facing axe
A COUNCIL crisis fund that provides food and clothing vouchers for homeless and vulnerable residents is facing the axe as part of costcutting proposals.
The Stockport Local Assistance Scheme (SLAS) was set up in 2013 and replaced community care grants and crisis loans.
Town hall bosses have said scrapping the service will save £486,000, with the council facing a savings target of £16m next year.
Opposition councillors said the move would be ‘a step too far,’ although officers said the authority will look at ways to mitigate the loss. The scheme supports those living on the streets, escaping domestic violence, families under pressure or people with mental health problems or struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
Vouchers, issued in a crisis situation, can be exchanged for food, heating, clothing, bedding and essential household goods.
Speaking during a adult social care scrutiny committee meeting, Lib Dem councillor Suzanne Wyatt asked deputy leader Coun Wendy Wild for assurance that vulnerable residents would still receive support.
“The local assistance scheme is really good, but if it disappears I worry about the impact it will have on people,” said Coun Wyatt.
“I want to know what is in place so the people who need these services don’t end up starving or freezing - I’m very unhappy about this proposal. Can you reassure me they will be supported?” Coun Wild said the council would consult with the public before making a decision.
Meanwhile, Mark Fritton, director of operational social care, said the authority was ‘potentially’ looking at other funding streams that ‘might’ be able to offer similar support.
He added: “While we will look at closing the service, we will also see if there are other ways that could potentially meet the needs of those people. We are looking at ways to mitigate, wherever possible, against the loss of the scheme.”