Big cut in budget would be 'massive blow to homeless' in Leicester
The boss of a homeless charity is to address councillors this week to try to stop budget cuts which would close hostel beds.
David Brazier, chief executive of Shelter Housing Aid and Research project (Sharp), wants to stop Leicester City Council slashing £2.2 million from its £6.6 million budget for tackling homelessness.
Mr Brazier is allowed to address the full council meeting at Leicester Town Hall on Thursday because a petition he launched collected 1,590 signatures.
Mr Brazier said: "The fact this petition has raised so many signatures shows just how strongly people feel about the issue.
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"I shall be using the time to make my point as forcefully as I can. I have to let all the councillors know how vulnerable so many people out there are."
The petition called on the council to do all it could to maintain the number of beds for homeless people and to retain the present budget for the services.
Mr Brazier said cutting the budget by a third would lead to the loss of 200 beds.
He said: "This would be a massive blow to the homeless people in Leicester, who need more support in these troubled times not less.
"Such drastic cutting of the budget may also affect the various charities which exist in the city to help homeless people.
"They are partly-funded by the council and if they were to lose money it could affect their very existence.
"That in turn could mean less support for the homeless.
"We cannot stand by and watch this happen.
"This is why we have taken this stance."
Under a council petition scheme, adopted in May 2010, any petition that receives more than 1,500 signatures must be subject to a debate at full council.
The same scheme states that the lead petitioner should be invited to speak on the subject for five minutes in a debate which can last up to 15 minutes.
Councillor Andy Connelly, assistant mayor with responsibility for housing, said the public consultation process had recently ended with regard to the council's homeless ness strategy.
He said: "There will be a debate on the matter on Thursday.
"The petition will be considered as part of the public consultation process.
"After the debate on Thursday the council will go away and consider what it strategy is to be.
"That should be formulated over the next few weeks."