Two Shelter centres to close in Kent
A charity which offers housing, debt and welfare benefit advice
is closing its Dover and Ashford centres.
Shelter is shutting nine services across the country, two
of them in Kent. Dover and Ashford will both be closing on March
But a third service in Chatham has been saved.
The charity says the closures are as a result of a 36% reduction
in legal aid funding for their face-to-face advice, offering help
to many people including those who are homeless.
Shelter bids for legal aid contracts from the Legal
Services Commission, and these contracts are the biggest single
source of Shelter’s advice work.
Because of the reduced funding, it decided not to bid for LSC
contracts in locations where it was no longer sustainable to do
Chief executive Campbell Robb said the closures would be a
massive blow to people in the areas affected.
“Sadly we have had to take the difficult decision to close nine
of our housing advice services.
"This is a result of the huge cuts to legal aid in England,
which we campaigned vigorously against.
"While service closures are absolutely a last resort, we simply cannot fill the gap created by the scale of these cuts with other sources" – Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb
"These cuts have left
us with a significant reduction in our legal aid funding to support
our face-to-face advice services.
“The cuts have meant some difficult decisions about how we best
use the resources we have to help those in housing need.
"While service closures are absolutely a last resort, we simply
cannot fill the gap created by the scale of these cuts with other
Mr Robb said the organisation had been consulting with the
staff affected, which had also led to the threatened Chatham
service being saved.
He added: “These closures are a massive blow to people in these
areas who will no longer be able to get face-to-face advice and
support from Shelter.
"We will be doing all we can to ensure people around the country
can still get help with their housing problems through our helpline
“With the ongoing recession, benefit cuts, and the high cost of
housing meaning more and more people struggling to keep a roof over
their heads, now is the very worst time to be taking away the
housing safety net that helps people stay in their homes.”
Anyone who is having a housing problem can still get free,
independent advice from Shelter’s helpline on 0808 800 4444 or the
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