Youth homeless problem put out to tender by MK Council

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A SPECIALIST housing association this week took over the running of five city housing schemes for homeless teenagers.

St Mungo’s, well-known for its homeless hostels in London, won the council tender to provide a more “value for money”, flexible and accessible service.

From Monday it was responsible for running all the city’s supported placements for vulnerable and homeless young adults, particularly those aged between 16 and 19.

One of the private hostels it has taken over is The Ark in Wolverton, set up 35 years ago by caring parents Anne and Mike Falcus.

“Our aim was to provide a stable home within a proper family for homeless young teenagers,” said Anne, who is now retired.

“I would be disappointed if St Mungo’s lost sight of this ethos. The Ark always was a family home and not just a hostel, I really hope that money-saving will not affect the quality of service offered.”

The housing association, which will be paid £766,525 a year to provide 54 beds, won the tender on the basis of putting forward the “most economically advantageous” bid.

Milton Keynes Council say a “more flexible pathway” was needed to ensure supported accommodation places were used more efficiently.

“A review of current housing and support provision for young people showed that there was a waiting list for places for young people with high support needs at the same time as there have been vacancies in supported accommodation where lower levels of support have been offered,” said a council spokesman.

The aims of the new contract include reducing levels of homelessness and encouraging education and training.