A local MSP has warned there is a “real risk that essential services could come to an end” at Aberdeen’s Albyn House.
Alison McInnes has demanded the Scottish Government intervene amid fears the drying-out centre could shut its doors in April.
Albyn House – designed to look after the drunk and incapable who would otherwise end up in police cells or clog-up hospital beds – has been praised by inspectors as a “unique” facility.
NHS Grampian and Police Scotland have confirmed their intention to withdraw funding for the unit in Aberdeen’s Dee Street, which has given assistance to vulnerable people for more than 30 years.
More than 2,500 people have backed a petition calling for Albyn House to be kept open.
Ms McInnes said: “Staff at Alcohol Support told me that at this time of year especially, they are so glad to be able to provide a warm place for those who are alcohol-addicted and resultantly homeless.
“Without their service, some would be condemned to trying to exist wearing the same damp clothes for weeks on end, without access to a shower or any respite from the cold.
“But there is a real risk these essential services could come to an end in Aberdeen.
“They should be being rolled out across Scotland, not being cut back.
“These facilities allow the NHS, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to save rather than spend, as they free-up beds in hospitals and keep cells for criminals.
“What’s more is that if the core funding is lost, the other services provided by volunteers such as counselling and other support available for alcoholics could also be lost.”
Public Health Minister and fellow north-east MSP Maureen Watt said it was best if local experts on the ground decided how to allocate funds.
She said: “Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADP) and local partners, taking account of local needs and priorities, allocate funding locally.
“There is no single best practice model for services for drunk and incapable people. Services should be developed directly in response to local needs, as determined by ADPs, and remain flexible when needs change.
“The Scottish Government has made a record investment of £319million to tackle problem alcohol use since 2008, the bulk of our funding-£278million – has been made to ADPs via NHS boards for investment in local prevention, treatment and recovery support services.”