Freezing temperatures and spending cuts will hit those at rock bottom

GOVERNMENT spending cuts will hit homeless charities this winter, making it more difficult for them to help the most vulnerable, East End housing charity Providence Row has warned.

The cuts kick in as the UK is in the grip of arctic conditions and hundreds of homeless men and women are living rough on the streets of London.

Providence Row, based in Spitalfields’ Wentworth Street, has been hit by a 40 per cent cut in funding which it uses to provide immediate relief to rough sleepers as well as helping them back into the community.

From January, the charity says it will be forced to restructure its services and make redundancies to make savings.

Jo Ansell, chief executive of the charity, said: “We are seriously concerned about people being homeless in these temperatures.

“Severe weather shelters are opened by local authorities only when the temperature hits zero but when it’s two degrees outside it can feel like minus four with the wind.

“We do everything we can to help people in these conditions but this relief costs money and we cannot provide it without funding.”

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In the comprehensive spending review the Government relaxed protection of the �100m Homelessness Grant which helps to fund homelessness charities. The cut comes into force as Christmas services for homeless people close and the charity sees a surge in numbers.

Last year 3,763 people slept rough on London’s streets.