Devon is on the brink of a homelessness crisis. 

On 13th September 2023, Devon County Council will make their final decision on cutting all funding to 18+ homelessness prevention services. The next few weeks are critical.   

We have only one month left to fight – we need your help. 

Kent County Council made this mistake when they tried to save £5.3m last year by scrapping their homelessness preventative funding, but the consequences were awful.  

As a result, In Kent Homelessness numbers have risen and services are set to close. (The Big Issue reports on this above in the link) 

It’s paramount that we don’t let this same mistake be repeated in Devon. 

So far, The Guardian, BBC news and ITV news have reported on the potential crisis at stake in Devon, however the County Council is not listening. (the articles can be viewed by clicking the links above) 

Devon County Council launched a very badly publicised Public Consultation. Even so, many large National organisations submitted responses highlighting the serious threat to life the proposals presented along with evidence that, rather than saving money the plans would result in costs of ten times more than the amount hoped to be saved.  

These respondents included:   The National Housing Federation,  Shelter,  Crisis,  The Big Issue  Homeless Link YMCA

At the forefront of the opposition against these proposed cuts is the local YMCA Exeter. YMCA Exeter provides supported accommodation for over 100 homeless young people every year. These are young people coming out of homelessness, substance misuse and traumatic childhoods and needing the support of a loving community to move forward.  

Marty’s story sums up why our work is critical. From unemployment, drug dependency and homelessness, to having his own one-bed flat and new career, Marty is now thriving. Listen to Marty’s story

You know and we know that investing in homelessness prevention is hugely effective and essentially also a cost saving method of tackling homelessness. 

Joint CEO of YMCA Exeter, Si Johns outlines the false economy of cutting Homeless Prevention, particularly to Charities, here in this video. 

The recently released Local Government Association’s Public Health Annual Report 2023 is majoring on prevention.  

And in September 2022, Local partnerships released the report jointly owned by HM Treasury, Local Government Association and the Welsh Government making the case for investing in homelessness prevention.    

High level conclusions within the report revealed that:    

  1. Intervention is effective, both in human terms, and for the public purse.   
  1. Relatively small amounts of council investment can lead to significant benefits for the public purse.    
  1. Projects offering wrap-around services as well as housing support, and with a person-centred approach, can be particularly effective.    

And yet, Devon County Council is proposing to cut funds to the 18+ homelessness prevention services.    

Short-sighted and critical. We need to stop this from going ahead.  

Through the current support package, Devon County Council contributes just £35 per person, per week to YMCA Exeter for over 100 young people every year to receive high-quality, supportive care.   

If YMCA Exeter is removed from providing this care, those same young adults will need to seek an Adult Social Care Package from Devon County Council which would increase the cost to the Adult Social Care budget by over £924,000.   

At the Devon County Council Cabinet meeting on 12 July, Cllr McInnes stated that Devon County Council could no longer afford to pay for this preventative work, however as you can see Devon County Council cannot afford to throw away preventative work, otherwise it will see its Adult Social Care costs increase exponentially.   

YMCA Exeter has a fantastic, workable model that has seen thousands of young people move on from homelessness into positive, sustainable futures.  

Please help us persuade Devon County Council to keep funding preventative measures so that together we can have a collective effort focused on preventing homelessness in Devon.   

Any comment on this would be greatly appreciated.  

You can contact us at: 

Office number: 01392 410530 

Mobile: 07936285990