Charity says its services are saving tax payers' money
Published by Porchlight for Porchlight in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government, Universal Credit
Porchlight CEO, Mike Barrett
This month, homelessness charity Porchlight is backing a National Housing Federation campaign that aims to raise awareness of the needs of vulnerable people in our communities and show how proper, integrated support services can save valuable taxpayers’ pounds down the line.
The charity runs several supported accommodation projects across Kent (Canterbury, Ashford, Dover, Ramsgate and Tonbridge) with specialist accommodation for young people aged 16-24 and those with enduring mental health issues.
Recent research has shown that for every pound spent on Supporting People services, up to £2.65 is saved on other public services.
Mike Barrett, Chief Executive for the charity says, "The services provided by Porchlight and other organisations have a positive impact on our communities and on wider priorities like housing; social care; health; crime; teenage pregnancy; homelessness, and alcohol and substance misuse. They transform people’s lives, fostering greater independence and reducing reliance on benefits and on other services."
Over 5,300 South East households were accepted as homeless and in priority need in 2011. Porchlight has seen the numbers of people asking for help rising with calls to the charity’s helpline almost doubling since April to over 1,300 last month.
Mr Barrett has concerns about future funding: "Unfortunately we seem to be losing the argument that investment in our work will save much more money further down the road. Welfare reforms and the cuts to other budgets are making our work incredibly difficult and that is why campaigns like Support Matters Month are so important. My nightmare is having to make decisions between those we can help and those who we cannot. The problem here of course is that I cannot choose. We have to try and help those who are willing to accept our help, that’s why as a charity we spend as little as possible on administration whilst attempting to support our frontline services to deliver the charity’s mission."
"We need stability in the sector, investment in preventative work and for those who fund services to understand that stable permanent housing for people in real need means they can become contributing dignified members of their communities. Contrary to popular belief, homeless and vulnerable people want to be included and give something back to a society that gives them a chance."