Residents are left fuming by sheltered home budget cuts

IPSWICH: Angry residents of sheltered housing schemes in Ipswich are up in arms as budget cuts threaten the support they get from the borough.

Suffolk County Council pays the borough for the support offered to residents of sheltered housing schemes, however the amount of this available for sheltered housing schemes has been cut by 75 per cent over the last three years.

Now the borough has written to residents giving two options for the future – one is to continue with the service as it currently operates and eventually to subsidise it from the general rent fund.

The second option is turn it into a self-financing service which would see a reduction in the number of staff and other cuts. In both cases service charges would rise �1.50 a week each year until 2016/17.

Residents of Mayo Court, on Waterford Road, fear “Option Two” has already been chosen by the borough as it tries to bring down the costs.

And that has angered those who were persuaded to move into sheltered accommodation to free up larger council houses.

Alan Collins said: “We moved here because the council said we would be secure and they were keen to be able to reallocate our larger homes.

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“It’s a very nice place to live, but the security we were promised has been whittled away over the years and now it could be even less.”

Residents of Mayo Court have already had one meeting, and councillor with responsibility for housing John Mowles is hoping to visit them over the next few weeks.

He denied any decisions had been made: “It is true that the officers are recommending that we go for option two, but the councillors have not yet discussed this and we are looking at everything.

“It may be that we consider it is better to have the service subsidised by the general rents because we want sheltered housing to be an attractive option to older people living in houses that are too big for them.”

Suffolk County Council’s spokesman for adult care Colin Noble felt the borough was playing politics because it had been working to improve services for older people.

He said: “When we looked at this in 2006 we found that 90pc of the Supporting People Funding was going to people in social housing – and we wanted to spread that support.

“So we set up a telephone-based help service which is available to people in their own homes as well as in social housing.”

n Are you worried about the changes to sheltered housing? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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