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Thrive Homes tenants told to vote today
Elderly and frail residents living in sheltered homes in Watford, Rickmansworth, Abbots Langley, Croxley Green and South Oxhey have been told they will each have to pay an extra £100 per year to keep some services.
Tenants in eight housing units operated by Thrive Homes were told they must vote today (Friday) on whether they want to fund a retirement housing assistant to organise social activities and carry out minor maintenance such as changing lightbulbs.
Thrive Homes said the amount it receives from Hertfordshire County Council for housing support had been cut by 58 per cent from £340,000 in March 2011 to £163,780 in April 2012.
The trust also says it must reduce social activities in sheltered schemes and support more people in the wider community or risk losing the rest of the grant.
But Alan Deacon, 59, whose mother lives in Grove Court, a Thrive-operated home in Croxley Green, said he was furious at not being told of the ultimatum his mother and fellow residents were being offered.
He said: "Two ladies from Thrive came in and gave a presentation where they said we want to know whether you want these services or not.
"It’s not open and it’s not transparent to do things in this way.
"It is quite shocking to see this has been done with no reference to anybody else - my mum has got memory problems.
"I just think the whole thing is a bit shabby firstly for the county council for treating any ratepayers like this and secondly for Thrive to not contact the carers.
"They have been given two weeks to come up with a yay or nay without a proper explanation and these are people aged between 60 and 90 who are the most vulnerable people in the community except for children."
The scheme would be paid for by increasing the participating tenant’s service charges by £1.96 from £3.61 per week to £5.55 although this increase will be covered by housing benefits for those already claiming.
The retirement housing assistant would spend around 13 hours per week in a scheme of 30 flats paying the extra charge compared to 8.5 hours in one that doesn’t.
A Thrive spokesman said: "Residents of Grove Court were invited to attend a presentation on October 5 as part of Thrive Homes’ ongoing consultation about the services currently provided in our sheltered schemes.
"We have asked residents to let us know (by October 19) what they think about our proposals for a part-time retirement housing assistant - this role is due to be introduced following resident feedback in March asking for an onsite presence.
"Additionally, residents were given a booklet to explain their service charges."