A cabinet meeting at Durham County Council has voted unanimously to close the five care homes, which remain in its control: at Stanhope, Belmont, Ferryhill, Peterlee and Chester-le-Street.
Councillor Alan Napier, the Vice Chair, said the decision was taken with "a heavy heart" but was necessary in the face of "savage" cuts. However independent Councillor Anita Savory asked if the decision meant money was more important than human life.
More top news
Kerrie Gosney brings you Sunday night's forecast
Cold with wintry showers overnight and on Monday.
Cold air from Canada will turn showers wintry overnight into Monday morning. Snow could settle over higher routes. Icy patches possible