‘This is somewhere safe - so what now?’

Fishermead Hostel
Fishermead Hostel

Closing two homeless shelters has left vulnerable people with no idea what the future holds for them.

That is the claim of the 20 residents of Fishermead Hostel, who learned last week that their hostel, and another in Cambridge Street, Bletchley, will close in six months’ time.

The group say they cannot speak highly enough of the centre, where they each have two-year tenancy agreements. There they receive emotional support, are referred to professionals who help with health issues or drug and alcohol problems, and get practical training to return to work,

But they claim Milton Keynes Council has given no indication what will happen to them when the hostel closes.

Emma Pullen is a registered nurse, who moved to the hostel 17 months ago after becoming homeless when she suffered problems with alcohol abuse.

She said: “Most people here have been homeless and have long-term difficulties. Somewhere like the YMCA, where you can only stay for six weeks, isn’t enough.

“Even things like cooking for yourself or managing your own budget are a big step for some people here.”

Funding for both hostels is being ended by Milton Keynes Council as part of the council’s plans to cut £70 million from its budget.

Resident Ashley Baverstock said his six months in the hostel had helped him to end a 17-year drug habit.He hopes to have his own home where his son can stay.

He said: “This place helped me 1,000 per cent when I was at my lowest. It is somewhere safe, where there’s support - but now we are being told we’ll have to go and fend for ourselves with no transitional period.

“We just want help to get our lives back together.”

A council spokesman said: “We have had to make many difficult decisions as part of our plan to save £70million over the next five years.”