'Under pressure' West Sussex County Council would not take decision to cut housing-related support funding 'lightly'

Housing support cuts protest
Housing support cuts protest

West Sussex County Council has said it is under 'unprecedented pressure' to make savings, following proposals to cut 100 per cent funding for housing-related support services.

According to Southdown, a Sussex-based housing, care and support provider which has been lobbying against the proposals, thousands of vulnerable people will be left at risk of homelessness if the cuts to the council 2019/20 budget go ahead.

Attendees at the Southdown campaign event in Chichester on Friday

Attendees at the Southdown campaign event in Chichester on Friday

Southdown, an organisation which delivers the Homelessness Prevention Partnership service across the county, has urged people to oppose the funding cuts proposal, through four campaign events in Horsham (Tuesday 30), Worthing (November 1), Crawley (November 5) and Chichester (November 9).

The county council, which agreed to extend the contracts for all the housing support providers until September 2019, said it has been 'working collaboratively' with its six district and borough councils as well as the Coalition of Providers to ensure the engagement progresses positively.

A spokesperson for the county council added: “We have agreed to extend the contracts [to] give us all the opportunity to work towards any changes that may be implemented within a reasonable time frame whilst allowing a period of stability for the providers.

“We want to find a solution that works for everyone and find a way of balancing the budget while at the same time providing better services for our residents."

The final decision for future funding is planned for mid December, and everyone can have their say via West Sussex County Council's Housing Related Support Consultation form on its website. The deadline is December 3.

The spokesman added: “It is important to emphasise that no decisions have yet been taken on where potential savings can be made, which is why we have launched the engagement process to gather views and feedback from everyone affected by the proposals before any final decisions are made in December.

“The county council is coming under unprecedented pressure to make savings, and we are being asked to make some really difficult decisions when it comes to our ever decreasing finances."

The county council said it had to stress the 'unfortunate reality' that it cannot continue to deliver the services it currently offers as it has done previously.

“We recognise that opening the debate about funding for these services has caused widespread concern and fully acknowledge that these services support a number of vulnerable people," the spokesman continued.

"Having to look to make savings in this area is not a decision we will take lightly.”

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