28 February 2023

In February 2023, Devon County Council announced a proposal to cut funds to the 18+ homelessness services. 

Si Johns, YMCA Exeter JCEO brings clarity to Devon County Council’s proposed funding cuts, and explains the impact this will have. 

If the cuts go ahead, YMCA Exeter will lose over £157,000 per year in funding and the consequences for vulnerable young adults will be huge.    

  • Over 100 young adults could continue to face homelessness every year. Exeter County Council would be responsible for finding them beds. 
  • Over 100 young adults every year could no longer have access to tailored wellbeing support, unable to move beyond their circumstances and thrive again.   
  • Without the essential prevention measures YMCA Exeter provides, Devon County Council could find themselves covering an average bill of over £924,000 a year in adult social care costs, rather than the current £157,000 they give to YMCA Exeter.   

Devon County Council currently pays a proportionately small financial contribution to YMCA Exeter, which is used for essential prevention measures. If this funding stops, the city could be faced with Housing Benefit and Adult Social Care costs of well over £1.8 million a year. Plus the knock-on effect of removing preventative care increases the burden on the police, our hospitals and our mental health services.   

YMCA Exeter is playing a massive role in reducing Devon County Council’s statutory responsibilities. YMCA Exeter intercede at the crisis point of a young person’s life and prevent them from getting to the place where they need Devon County Council to provide an adult social care package.    

In the Adult Care and Health Budget from 22-23 Devon County Council specifically mentions that they are seeing increasing complexity in care needs of younger adults. This means that the support needed for each individual is (on average) greater year on year, even during ‘normal’ times.    

That’s why YMCA Exeter is so essential. Through the current package, Devon County Council are paying just over £35 a week for around 100 young people every year to receive tailored, supported care as they come out of homelessness or care and establish themselves – surrounded by the support of a loving community to move forward. If YMCA Exeter is unable to continue providing this care, Devon County Council could see an increase to their costs of over £924,000 if young people are not receiving the preventable care they need at a critical time and are unable to move back into independent living.

The response from the public consultation led to 100% of respondents saying ‘No’ to the funding cuts. 

139 people described the cuts as ‘short-sighted’. Other words used to describe the cuts include: ‘Catastrophic’, ‘Immoral’ and ‘Devastating’. 

Latest news from 8th August 2023 

Following constant campaigning and outpouring of concern from the public, the service providers and those that have bravely shared their stories of moving on from homelessness through the invaluable support of prevention services, Devon County Council leader, John Hart has paused plans to move ahead with the funding cuts.  

“We need to better understand the full impact of such a decision on all aspects of our public services, including the impact on our Team Devon District and City Council partners. 

“I also want to involve other agencies, such as the Police and Public Health, and to see a full and accurate picture of the different situations across the county. 

“By the end of this calendar year, I want to have a joint view on the way forward, and a design for how the service will work in future that can be agreed by all of our District Council Leaders and myself.”  

Devon County Council leader, John Hart