Nineteen high-needs young people are facing the possibility of homelessness, following the announcement that a supported housing scheme is close. 

The Foyer, on Wilton Road, has been operated by A2Dominion for more than 15 years, but is set to close at the end of March as the contract expires and the company no longer saw it as financially feasible to offer an adequate service on the terms it says Wiltshire Council offered upon renewal.

Jo Evans, director of specialist housing at A2Dominion, said: “Despite numerous requests, Wiltshire Council has declined any inflationary uplifts during the current six-year contract, despite the current challenging financial landscape.”

With A2Dominion having decided it could no longer offer a proper service under the circumstances, the council placed the contract for providing these services out to tender, but received no takers.

To alleviate the situation, A2Dominion offered to sell the property to the council, but this was not met favourably.

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Jo said: “Our contract expires in April 2024 and Wiltshire decided to offer the contract out to other providers, including ourselves. Based on the funding available we would be unable to safely run the service for our young people and staff, which meant we had to make the difficult decision not to re-tender for this contract.

“Despite not tendering ourselves, we made our property available by lease as part of the tender to other providers. We additionally asked whether Wiltshire would be interested in purchasing the property, this would allow them to look at alternative management arrangements other than a lease if they wished to, but they didn’t take us up on this offer. The council have subsequently decided not to continue offering the service with another provider at the Foyer.

“We have had to go through difficult redundancy discussions with our staff and we have 19 young people that were placed by Wiltshire into high need supported accommodation that now face imminent and unintentional homelessness at the end of March.

“We have written to the CEO of Wiltshire Council, asking that they reconsider their position, and in the meantime we are working with the Council to ensure that the young people living at The Foyer can be found new, safe homes as soon as possible.”

Wiltshire Council says A2 Dominion chose not to submit a bid for the new contract. 

Salisbury Journal: Councillor Phil AlfordCouncillor Phil Alford (Image: Wiltshire Council)

Councillor Phil Alford, the council's cabinet member for housing, said: “We work with partners to provide a range of support for single, homeless people who need that additional help. We’ve just announced a new partnership with Alabare including for those who are aged 16 – 19 years and homeless.

“We understand this news from A2Dominion may cause some concerns for the young people affected and our dedicated Housing Caseworkers are working closely with A2Dominion to finalise move-on plans for those who are currently in the scheme.

“We are aware of A2Dominon’s concerns regarding costs and worked with them to consider alternative options within the previous contract.  Unfortunately, they chose not to submit a bid for the new contract.  

"Our focus remains ensuring we have the right support in place for people who find themselves homeless and rough sleeping.”