Plan to help Blackpool homeless is rejected despite petition

A bid to re-open a hostel for the homeless in Blackpool has failed, despite nearly 2,000 people signing a petition calling for it to be brought back into use.

Friday, 29th June 2018, 4:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th July 2018, 6:16 pm
The Foyer on Chapel Street
The Foyer on Chapel Street

The Foyer in Chapel Street in the resort shut down in 2014 after funding dried up.

A petition to re-open the building, which comprises of 38 flats, attracted 1,941 signatures - enough to prompt a debate by full council.

Daniel Bennison, who presented the petition, told councillors The Foyer helped many people in the town bounce back from hardship.

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He said it was needed to cope with current problems of homelessness and rough sleeping, especially in the winter.

Mr Bennison said: "The Blackpool Foyer in the past helped many people get back on their feet.

"I have spoken to around 100 ex-residents, a lot of whom say it should re-open.

"Some feel although they didn't like it at the time, it made a positive difference to their lives."

But Coun Christine Wright, the council's housing boss, said other services and accommodation was better placed to help homeless people and rough sleepers.

She said emergency accommodation was available already, and housing policy was to now return people to their home towns. Alternative support was also available for people with issues such as mental health problems or addiction.

Coun Amy Cross, who had been a resident at The Foyer as a teenager, said she also believed it would be wrong to re-open the accommodation.

She said: "I was expecting support but unfortunately due to funding cuts at the time both in national education and locally, they were not able to fund that.

"So The Foyer became full of people with multiple needs and people like me were scared to leave their rooms unless they were leaving the building.

"There were people there with complex needs without the support of wrap around services."

Councillors voted against re-opening The Foyer, and also heard the council's Housing Options teams is due to move into the building which is now operated by the Blackpool Housing Company.