Adults with support needs share fears after changes to Sudbury housing scheme

Brendan Wren is concerned he could be made homeless by changes to adult support provision
Brendan Wren is concerned he could be made homeless by changes to adult support provision

A group of vulnerable adults have expressed concern after being given notice to leave their homes in Sudbury without any promise of alternative accommodation.

Crofton House in The Croft, Sudbury, accommodates 10 adults over 21 who have minor additional support needs.

After a new Suffolk County Council tender was announced, the property run by Genesis Housing will instead be used for 16 to 21-year-olds.

Crofton House already has a sister site run by Genesis at Ballingdon Street for this younger age group, but Crofton House residents have been given 28 days to find new accommodation.

Residents have expressed their disappointment that they were told nothing of the closure of the service before February 20, when they were invited to a meeting.

“They do not have the best interests of residents at heart,” said Brendan Wren, the tenants’ representative at the site.

Tenants at Ballingdon mostly have minor support needs, these could be disabilities, medical conditions or problems with addiction.

Some enter after periods of homelessness and it is seen as a stepping stone back to independence.

New residents come in on two-year contracts with staff able to support residents with finding new housing later on, paperwork for jobs or benefits.

Mr Wren said vacancies were quickly filled, showing the need for such a service in the area.

The 31-year-old moved to Crofton House in September 2015 after finding himself homeless following the breakdown of his previous relationship.

He had previously suffered a brain injury and his medical conditions include autism, anxiety and epilepsy.

Medically unable to drive and with children living in Great Cornard, a fiancée in Sudbury and his church in Sudbury, he says he has to stay in this area.

But the only alternatives offered have been in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Felixstowe or as far as King’s Lynn.

Mr Wren’s medical conditions means complete independent living is unsuitable.

“They offered me Felixstowe and, when I said no, they said Ipswich,” said Mr Wren.

“I said I can’t get to my support. They asked how far I was willing to go, but I can’t afford to get taxis.”

Mr Wren is also concerned for his fellow tenants, with only three of his neighbours finding somewhere to live.

He is now concerned this safety net for those with nothing to fall back on will be removed permanently.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “The local housing options team will be visiting Crofton House this week.

“They are visiting individuals to give an overview on housing options and will book further separate appointments for individuals if requested.”