Lifeline cash withdrawn

PUBLISHED: 12:49 16 August 2014

Councillor Jill Elson

Councillor Jill Elson

Archant

Hundreds of vulnerable and elderly council tenants in Exmouth could have to pay for a currently free emergency call out life-line from next year.

From April county hall is pulling the funding plug on the Home Safeguard alarm service.

They have slashed £523,750 from the Housing Revenue Account and the Home Safeguard budget.

This will mean the end county subsidy for visits made by Mobile Support Officers and the welfare calls they make.

Home Safeguard is the district council’s emergency 24-hour alarm system for the vulnerable.

And mobile support officers not only give residents housing related support, they also respond to emergencies and help with loneliness.

Around 820 elderly and vulnerable people live in sheltered housing in Exmouth, with 1,300 in East Devon, and they could be all affected.

But district bosses insist that they will ensure that those tenants who want to continue living in their own homes will still be able to do so..

They have drawn up a raft of proposals to help plug the gap.

Ideas include introducing a service charge to cover the Home Safeguard alarm system, and visits and calls from a Mobile Support Officer.

Exmouth’s Councillor Jill Elson, East Devon’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Homes and Communities, said: “I want to see these services continue and we are exploring ways to make it happen.

“We value our Mobile Support Officers and the help they give our tenants in Sheltered Housing. Our tenants say they feel safer knowing someone will call.

“We are working with tenants to ensure they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to and if their needs have changed. I have asked that these discussions are honest and we will ensure that tenants are involved in finding solutions”.

A progress report will go to East Devon District Council’s EDDC’s Housing Review Board in September.

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