Provide suitable accommodation for homeless people and their pets.
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Cheshire West and Chester Council have reduced funding for homeless accommodation. In order to cut costs they have started housing homeless people with dogs in small flats with no outdoor space. Their homelessness manager Eileen Griffiths, and housing officer Alison Reaney, are of the opinion that dogs don't need a garden because they can toilet indoors. It is a breach of the Animal Welfare Act to keep animals in this condition, it is also of course unsuitable accommodation for the homeless, it is unsanitary.
I inspected one of these flats that they said was immediately available to accommodate somebody with two large dogs. The dogs would only have comfortably fit in one room. These two dogs are expected by the council to live in one room, and toilet in the same space. The carpet in this room had remnants of dog excrement on it from the previous residents pets.
Cheshire West and Chester Council have a homeless budget of £1,060,104. They currently spend £859,104 of that money on their own wages. The council also receive government funding of £6.5 million for "housing related support." In total the council are taking over £7.3 million for themselves, and dedicating under £200,000 of that money to provide accommodation for the homeless.
With £7.5 million to provide accommodation for homeless people, this abuse is inexcusable and unnecessary.
The council say for 2015-2020 they're going to focus their resources on:
"An on-going programme of training for the team"
"Customer leaflets and information materials "
"Better investment in ICT software for homelessness data" (They are intending to spend £100,000 on this)
Their plan is to take even more money for themselves, Whilst they cut facilities for the homeless.They have made this decision whilst publicly acknowledging that homelessness in the area is increasing.
I have a better suggestion for how we can spend the £7.5 million:
Provide suitable permanent accommodation for people with pets. Address the shortage of suitable accommodation for single people with pets, by building one bedroom houses. Ensure some of these properties are available outside of West Cheshire Homes, for the many people the council have barred from social housing.
Provide suitable temporary accommodation for pet owners. Whilst using current housing stock to house dog owners, you need to use properties with private outdoor space . If you have no suitable one bedroom properties for this purpose currently, you should be willing to use properties with a higher number of bedrooms until you've addressed the shortage.
Implement regeneration schemes in areas with outdated accommodation and facilities.
If you agree that this is a better use of funds please sign the petition. You can also contact Councillor Angela Claydon who is Cabinet member for housing, and Lord Mayor of Chester.
Twitter : https://twitter.com/MayorChester
Telephone: 01244 977701 and 01244 977702
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