Demonstration planned against cuts to West Sussex housing support services

Opponents of proposed cuts to housing-related support services are due to gather outside County Hall on Thursday
Opponents of proposed cuts to housing-related support services are due to gather outside County Hall on Thursday

West Sussex County Council can expect a crowd when it meets to look at proposed cuts to housing-related support services.

The council said it needed to make savings of up to £145m over the next four years and was £9m short of bridging next year’s £33m budget gap.

In an attempt to meet that target, it announced plans to cut support contracts worth more than £6m by April 2019, which would see affect some of the county’s most vulnerable people.

The public’s reaction to the news has been strong, with thousands signing petitions supporting services such as Crawley Open House and the YMCA DownsLink Group, which helps homeless young people in Worthing, Crawley, Horsham and Burgess Hill

Now a demonstration has been planned for Thursday morning (September 27) before the 10.30am meeting of the health and adult social care select committee, at County Hall, Chichester.

Among the protestors will be Chris Oxlade, former hostel manager at Open House.

Mr Oxlade said the cuts would have a ‘huge knock-on effect’ for the police, the NHS and the county council’s own social services, as people found themselves without the help they needed and, in some cases, back on the streets.

He added: “It’s a very short-sighted way to save money in the short-term.”

A report due to go before the committee stated: “At this point it is important to stress that no decisions on where potential savings can be made have been taken.

“The timeline within which this work is to be completed and decisions to be taken will run until December 2018.

“This will allow an open consultation with opportunities to consider the views of affected providers and stakeholders before decisions are made.”

The demonstration will start at 10am.

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