Bridgnorth homeless hostel closes amid support criticism
A hostel for the homeless will close its doors this weekend amid claims that tenants were given inadequate support to find new accommodation.
The 12-bed Parish Rooms on the corner of St Johns Street, in Bridgnorth, will close tomorrow after operator Clarion Housing Group did not renew its contract with Shropshire Council’s housing services.
However, the council said despite challenges it worked closely with tenants to find suitable new housing.
It was due to shut in March, but this was halted due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Parish Rooms tenant Lisa Rowley said: “We haven’t had good support. We haven’t seen the site manager for ages.
“Only support worker is available at certain times and they just lock the door. We can’t get to speak to them.
“I have health issues and I need stability and my belongings. I’ve been offered bed and breakfast accommodation, but I don’t know what’s going to happen to my things.”
But county housing services manager Laura Fisher said: “As soon as the council was notified of the closure of the Parish Rooms, housing options officers attended to take homelessness applications from all of the residents and to provide them with ongoing advice and support on finding suitable move-on accommodation.
“Due to Covid-19, Shropshire Council and the Parish Rooms agreed for the scheme to remain open until the end of September as we recognised how difficult it would be for residents to move on during the pandemic.
“Unfortunately this has meant that recent support from the housing team has been by phone which is not ideal for some individuals.
“All of the residents have had homelessness applications taken and have been allocated a housing options officer. Support will continue until the residents are rehoused into permanent accommodation.”
In a statement Clarion Housing Group said: “The Parish Rooms scheme is closing and Shropshire Council is moving to a floating support model.
"We have been working very closely with residents and the council’s housing team to identify suitable alternative accommodation that meets their needs, supporting them with the transition to ensure the process causes as little disruption as possible.
“Unfortunately a very small number of the residents have been unwilling to engage with us and have so far not been willing to consider alternative options sourced for them.”
Clarion managed the site which provides short-term accommodation for eight years.
Although the authority put out a tender, no bids were received. Clarion managed the sheltered accommodation on behalf of Shropshire Council for eight years.
The hostel was opened in 1996.
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