Axiom Housing, the operators of the Foyer residential home for homeless youth in Market Rasen, is rejecting fears from some townsfolk that planned changes could worsen crime in the town.
Due to changes in the contracts it operates under, the current 16-25 age range of existing residents will be replaced with one of 18+, with the 16 and 17-year-olds having to use other centres in Lincoln and Gainsborough.
The Rasen Mail has received calls from residents fearful that this could mean adult offenders using the centre, but Axiom say, despite changing the age range, the Foyer will operate “in the usual way.”
Market Rasen Town Council last week heard a brief summary of the changes due in June from town and district councillor Ken Bridger, who sits on a Foyer Advisory board, which includes various support groups in the Rasen area.
Coun Bridger recognised the incoming clientele would be older, but they would be “minimal support clientele, there for an emergency.”
Coun Steve Bunney said he was concerned about young people in Rasen who would now have to go to Gainsborough or Lincoln for support.
“It certainly provided something for 16-17-year-olds in the town. Once it goes it’s something we won’t have. We have lost too many things to the edge of the district,” he said.
But Coun Bridger said only four such youths a year would be affected by the changes.
The Foyer currently has 20 places for young people and has specialist staff to help them live independently, as well as give employment, training and education support.
Stuart Fort, Operations Director for Axiom Housing, said there would be no change in the kind of people living at the centre in King Street.
But due to changes with its contract with Lincolnshire County Council, the Foyer in Market Rasen would house over 18s instead of 16-25s.
Residents will be people with relationship breakdowns, people who have come out of the forces or are simply homeless.
“People who have fallen on hard times,” he continued, “people who have gone off the rails. We might get the occasional offender but we aren’t expecting any difference.”
“We have operated the service for 15 years. We will continue to do that in the future. We offer support to help people regain their independence, get them on a stable footing. We work with people on training, employment. We work with other agencies,” he said.
As for people fearing crime from Foyer residents, Mr Fort added: “We have a good reputation. The residents that we have there do a lot for the local community.”