‘I don’t believe in hostels’, admits councillor who helped close St George’s

St George's Hostel
St George's Hostel

A hostel for the homeless has been shut down amid fears of crime and anti-social behaviour.

The St George’s hostel, run by St Mungo’s Broadway in Bletchley, had operated illegally for six months after it was refused planning permission by the council.

The news comes as MK Council reveals soaring homelessness figures and a lack of accommodation.

St George’s has offered refuge to more than 100 “vulnerable” young people since it opened.

But Labour councillor Nigel Long rejoiced at the news of its closure and criticised the use of homeless hostels.

He is now pushing for the site to house up to ten OAP bungalows.

He said: “Hostels are the easy option. I do not believe they are the right way to deal with young people.

“Everybody thinks the nice thing to do is stick them in a hostel ,but it is not a long-term solution.

“Most people you see there, shouldn’t be there. They are not being abused or at risk. They may have problems, but they are not actually at risk.

“What we need to do, which the council does, is work with them and their families so they can stay at home.”

St Mungo’s Broadway, which operates four other homeless hostels in Milton Keynes, has found alternate solutions for the 12 youngsters who had been living there.

Councillors now hope the public will have their say on the future of the building, which is owned by the Milton Keynes Council housing department.

Mr Long, who worked as a homeless person officer in London, says that to avoid using hostels the council need to help find alternate accommodation for people.

He said the remaining St Mungo’s hostels will still remain open.

He added: “I do not believe in any institutional set ups.

“They are not good for anybody.

“What we want to do is create pathways back into mainstream Milton Keynes.”

A spokesman for St Mungo’s said: “In April 2014 Milton Keynes Council agreed to continue the use of the property as a project for young people until July 2015.

“Since we began managing the service, it’s been a temporary home for more than 100 vulnerable young people from Milton Keynes

“We have moved current residents into other options as this service closes.

“We give our thanks to the members of the community who have supported our residents, visited and volunteered with us.”