CONCERNS are growing over the future of funding for homeless services in the city.

The city council has a statutory duty to help prevent homelessness and to help those who are actually homeless.

But the majority of funding for this work comes from two government grants - the Homelessness Prevention Grant and the Rough Sleeper Initiative Grant.

The council has yet to received confirmation of its allocation of the homelessness prevention grant beyond 2024/25 and the government has made no announcement on the future of the rough sleeper grant.

Speaking at last week’s Communities committee meeting, Cllr Karen Lawrance said: “I am concerned.

“Will we be revisiting this later in the year when we have a new government or do we need to take a marker now and ask that new government to guarantee that funding because this is essential work?”

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Tom Mountford, head of service - homes and communities, said there was an “acute awareness” of the reliance on homelessness grants.

“Not having an assurance on funding does place lots of projects at risk. Staff have uncertainty around future employment status etc.”

He said an evaluation of services both in the city and across Worcester is currently taking place “so we’re in a strong position once we know what the funding arrangements post 2025 will look like.”

Mr Mountford said: “The impact of not having funding would be immense across Worcester, but [also] across the country so to turn off the tap and cut off the funding - I can’t see that happening. But obviously we just don’t have any certainty around what that will look like beyond March next year.”

Cllr Lawrance responded: “Given that it’s a predictable, ongoing situation, to be expecting councils and officers to wait to find out whether or not anything is going to be delivered into our gift bag when its actual taxpayers’ money and is needed to support people who are in need in our local community.

“It doesn’t help anybody to see people not in solid accommodation because it affects their health, it affects their education, their children, and it affects their general wellbeing - that impacts all of us. And it can increase crime.”

Cllr Neil Laurenson said there are “so many skilled staff” who are looking anxiously to the future until the funding is secured.

Committee chair Cllr Jabba Riaz said: “Hopefully whoever makes it into the Houses of Parliament can go and knock on that door for us.”