VULNERABLE residents in Southend Council sheltered housing complexes fear plans to get rid of live-in managers will put them at risk.

South EssexHomes, which manages 22 council-owned sheltered housing complexes, wants to do away with on-site managers at some or all its sites to save money.

Residents and their relatives are worried the move will make them more vulnerable to intruders, falls or other hazards.

South Essex Homes is organising consultation meetings at the complexes to outline the plans and seek residents’ views.

Liz Lockwood, whose mother lives in Senier House in Salisbury Road, Leigh, said: “If there is not a warden living there, how can it be considered sheltered housing?

“They are saying there would be a ‘floating’ warden, covering a number of the schemes and making visits. I know they are making cuts, but why is it always the elderly who have to be picked on?”

However, South Essex Homes chief executive Mike Gatrell, said regardless of whether wardens lived on side, the complexes would still be classed as sheltered. He said: “There is no intention to change the status or service provided to any of the council’s sheltered housing schemes.

“There are no plans to remove the specialist sheltered housing officer service provided to each of the schemes.

“However, there is a review to ensure we are continuing to provide the best and most cost-effective service to each scheme, and this includes assessing whether a full-time residential service continues to be appropriate at every scheme.”

He said more than 30 residents had volunteered to take part in a working group as part of the consultation on the plans.

Mr Gatrell added: “Until this review has been completed, exact financial savings will not be known. Residents are being kept informed throughout this process.

If they have any concerns they are encouraged to contact us on the freephone number, 0800 833 160.

“This is the latest phase of our effort to develop a modern, fit-forpurpose, cost effective sheltered housing service “It has already led to other changes of which residents have been part all along.

“Feedback has shown South Essex Homes is providing an even better service.

“The evidence is continuallyimproving satisfaction levels.”