Homelessness and suicide rates rise in Crawley, says report

Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children  Start of Life
Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children  Start of Life

Crawley homelessness organisations have reported more people becoming homeless and an increase in the town’s suicide rate.

Crawley Housing & Homelessness Forum, which represents agencies dealing with housing and homelessness in Crawley, stated nearly two-thirds of organisations said the issue of financial hardship and difficulties managing personal finances was getting worse in Crawley.

The forum said ‘hard-pressed’ services found it more difficult to help homeless people which affected drug and alcohol misuse, domestic violence, crime and anti-social behaviour in town.

The information was in a report distributed to Crawley councillors.

The document stated: “All organisations are experiencing an increase in clients, with more people joining their waiting lists.

“Nearly two-thirds of organisations are seeing an increase in clients needing practical support around basic needs.

“Four out of five organisations report an increase in clients needing emotional support around debt and hardship.”

The council’s Fairness Commission Scrutiny Panel has been working on a way of keeping councillors informed of the issues for a year.

Member Geraint Thomas (Lab, Northgate) said a formal arrangement would allow the council to make more authoritative representations to those responsible for dealing with the problems.

He expected the panel would decide on its final recommendations to the council at a public meeting on Tuesday (September 22).

The panel had places for three Labour and two Conservative councillors.

Duncan Crow (Con, Furnace Green), the town’s Conservative Group leader, said it declined its places on the panel.

He said its original chairman, Michael Jones, who was vice-chairman of the council’s scrutiny commission while in opposition, had voted against a Tory member taking up his former role.

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