Lack Of Cash Closes Sheffield Homeless Centre

A CENTRE which has provided help to hundreds of homeless or vulnerable people in Sheffield is closing due to lack of funding.

Nomad’s advice service, based in the city centre, will see its last client on March 31 – nine years after first starting work to help those in difficulty.

The organisation needed at least £100,000 a year to run the centre at full-strength, when it employed three full-time and two part-time staff and assisted 250 people a month.

But it has gradually been run down since National Lottery funding ran out in 2004.

Now the charity has decided it can no longer afford to continue the operation at all.

Until the start of this year, it still helped 100 people a month but since January no new clients have been taken on and the last few cases are now being resolved.

Mal Crehan, housing advisor for Nomad, who is the last worker remaining at the advice centre and is facing redundancy, said: “We have been trying hard to obtain funding to remain open. It is sad that we are having to close.”

Approaches were made to the Big Lottery Fund, a number of charitable trusts, Sheffield Council and other organisations, but all failed.

Mr Crehan said: “Our closure will leave a big gap in advice services in Sheffield. There are other advice centres available, such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, but we are the only one that is a housing specialist.

“We represented people threatened with eviction, assisted with benefits tribunals, and helped people challenge council decisions.”

Nomad will remain at its base in West Street and will continue to operate a range of other services after the advice centre closes.

These include a Smartmove bond scheme, where the organisation acts as guarantor for people who cannot raise money for a deposit to rent a house, tenancy support, and Nomad Plus – a life skills project for people aged 16 to 25.

The charity also operates a scheme called Moving Forward, to help long-term unemployed youths retrain and find jobs, and a residential project in Queen Street, Rotherham.