Funding cuts will have 'devastating effect' says Sussex care and support provider

Coalition of West Sussex providers. Picture contributed
Coalition of West Sussex providers. Picture contributed

Thousands of vulnerable people will be left at risk of homelessnes if county council cuts go ahead, according to a Sussex-based housing, care and support provider.

Southdown, a not-for-profit organisation which delivers the Homelessness Prevention Partnership service across the county, has urged people to oppose West Sussex County Council’s proposal to cut 100 per cent funding from its 2019/2020 budget, for provision of housing-related support services.

Neil Blanchard, Southdown chief executive. Picture contributed

Neil Blanchard, Southdown chief executive. Picture contributed

Its contract, originally set to end in April, has been extended until September 2019, it was announced by the county council today.

A Southdown spokesman said employees will be 'lobbying on the streets' of the county to encourage people to have their say on the decision, through the council's online consultation survey, which is open until the December 3.

Neil Blanchard, Southdown chief executive, said: “If the proposed 100 per cent cut in funding goes ahead, it will have a devastating effect on thousands of vulnerable people at risk of homelessness and the number of people rough sleeping is certain to increase significantly.

“The cost to the public purse will overall be much higher than the savings they hope to achieve as the loss of preventative support will directly increase pressure on adult and children’s social care services provided directly by the Council, as well as other public services such as Housing, Primary Health Care and Community Mental Health."

Mr Blanchard said the 'most worrying' thing is the 'damaging effect' it will have on people’s lives and local communities across the county.

He added: "Please help save vital services and share your thoughts through the Council’s online survey.”

The final decision for future funding is planned for December.

Southdown said it is also hosting four events in Horsham, Chichester, Worthing and Crawley, where people can find out details of the Council’s proposed plan, receive support to complete the Council’s online consultation survey and sign a petition 'to save the West Sussex Homelessness Prevention Partnership Service'.

A Southdown spokesman said: "Many of Southdown’s clients will also be at the events, sharing how support they have received has helped them and their families.

"Southdown is working with a coalition of 16 West Sussex providers to oppose the 100 per cent funding cut for all housing-related support services."

For more information on Southdown’s ‘Stop the Cuts’ campaign events in Horsham, Chichester, Worthing and Crawley, call 01903 867 320 or email rosa.weiberle@southdown.org.

To have your say about the council’s proposed funding cut to all housing-related support visit the council’s website.