05 SEP 2018

Homeless refuge's future secured after campaign

The future of a homeless refuge in Dover threatened by funding cuts has been secured following a hard-fought campaign.

Staff at Emmaus Dover described it as an "immense relief" after the Government scrapped plans to shake up housing benefits. I urged Ministers to scrap the controversial proposals after meeting with the Emmaus team last year.

Under the Government's former plans, funding for refuges and short-term supported housing would have been overhauled, removing both from the current welfare system.

The changes would have meant that vulnerable people seeking shelter at charities like Emmaus could not pay for the accommodation using housing benefits.

Currently, such benefits are the last guaranteed income available for refuges, making up 53 per cent of their funding on average.

Emmaus operates out of Archcliffe Fort in Dover and offers a home and work to 27 formerly homeless people.

Debra Stevenson, community manager at Emmaus Dover, said: "I want to thank Charlie for his support in safeguarding the future of Emmaus Dover and other supported housing organisations.

"The Government's announcement that housing benefit will be retained for supported accommodation was an immense relief. We wholeheartedly welcome the decision."

Emmaus, and other charities offering supported housing, play a vital role in Dover, ensuring our most vulnerable get a warm bed, a warm meal, and the chance to build the skills and confidence to get on in life.

My support of their work is a given – and I will resist any attempt to rob them of their funding. That's why I pressed Ministers to scrap their plans.

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Charlie Elphicke

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