Sussex Homelessness Prevention service lobby against proposed 100 per cent county council funding cuts in Chichester

Attendees at the Chichester campaign event on Friday
Attendees at the Chichester campaign event on Friday

A Sussex-based housing, care and support provider has united against West Sussex County Council’s proposal to cut 100 per cent funding from its 2019/2020 budget, at an event in Chichester on Friday (November 9).

Southdown, a not-for-profit organisation which delivers the Homelessness Prevention Partnership service across the county, has urged people to oppose the county council’s proposal to cut funding for provision of housing-related support services.

Peter, Southdown client

Peter, Southdown client

It hosted four 'really well attended' events firstly in Horsham (Tuesday 30), Worthing (November 1), Crawley (November 5) and finally in Chichester last week.

The purpose of these events were for people affected to find out details of the council’s proposal, receive support to complete the council’s online consultation survey and sign a petition to save the Homelessness Prevention Partnership Service.

Nahar Choudhury, director of Southdown’s Community Support Services, said more than 100 people, who have accessed support from the homelessness prevention service, attended the ‘Stop the Cut’ events.

She added: “At the events, information about West Sussex County Council’s proposal to cut all funding for housing-related support in 2019 was shared. People were also encouraged to have their say through the Council’s online consultation.

“Many of those who attended shared how support they have received has helped them and their families. It is people’s personal stories that really highlight why funding for homelessness prevention support must be protected and the devastating consequences if it isn’t.

“Thank you so much to everybody who attended our Chichester event. We really appreciate the support to help save vital services.”

Neil Blanchard, Southdown chief executive, said if the cuts were too go ahead, it would have a 'devastating effect' on thousands of vulnerable people at risk of homelessness, whilst the number of people rough sleeping would be 'certain to increase significantly'.

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

Many of Southdown's clients would be affected by any cuts, including former homeless man Peter.

He said: "The support looks at what my needs are and who I am as a person. I don’t feel like a number. My support officer usually meets me at home. We go through the post and have a chat about something.

"Regarding security and housing, support has helped me hugely. It’s ticked all the boxes. It has been hugely helpful."

The final decision for future funding is planned for December 14.

To have your say about the council’s proposed funding cut to all housing-related support visit the council’s website. The deadline is December 3.