Partners behind Worthing’s new short-term accommodation centre have revealed the big impact it has had on helping people turn their lives around – and vowed to continue to listen to local residents and address potential concerns.
Three months after the dedicated 38-bedroom hub was opened in Lyndhurst Road, Worthing Churches Homeless Projects has supported dozens of people who are in need of a roof over their heads.
In that time, six people staying at the centre have been helped to move on into secure long term accommodation.
Others have been supported to engage with local services for support in specific areas such as mental health and substance misuse.
However, Sue Stevens, PR & Fundraising Manager for WCHP has confirmed that there is still work to be done – and, after a number of issues were raised by local residents, staff have pledged to keep on working closely with locals to ensure they remain good neighbours.
She said: “Whilst we are considerate of both the positive and negative impact a residence for homeless individuals can have on an area, the project at Lyndhurst Road has only been operational for a couple of months. We would therefore like to encourage patience and understanding during this initial phase.
“We also want to reassure members of the public that there are safeguarding procedures and vigilant policies in place for a project of this nature.
“We will continue to work closely with councillors and local residents in the neighbourhood to listen to issues raised with a view to addressing concerns.”
The need for the centre in Lyndhurst Road has become increasingly apparent as the number of people in housing need across Adur & Worthing continues to rise.
Accommodation is available to those who may have suffered redundancy, relationship breakdown, termination of private lets and health breakdowns.
Some have been rough sleeping, reflecting a nationwide increase in homeless living on the street.
For many of the residents, it is the first time in years they have been given the safety and security of a roof over their heads for the first time in years.
Expert staff from WCHP are on site round the clock. They also make sure that residents are made aware they need to adhere to certain rules and regulations in order to secure their stay. If these are contravened their residence could be terminated.
The centre is a key component of the partnership work in Adur & Worthing to reduce rough sleeping, that also includes enhanced outreach provision and support for those with mental health and other complex needs, that has recently resulted in additional funds being allocated from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Neighbours in the vicinity have been provided with a 24/7 telephone number and a direct email which goes direct to staff at the project so they can deal with any issues promptly. Additional measures such as regular staff and police patrols along with internal and external CCTV are also in place.
A local action team has also been set up with representatives from the police, the council and WCHP to address any concerns after some residents raised concerns about antisocial behaviour in the area.
Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Customer Services, said: “This is a very important project which is addressing a growing problem of homelessness.
“Residents are making real changes to their lives; they are finally engaging with agencies to access the support and help available to them. We hope that residents will understand the real need for this accommodation and that any issues can hopefully be addressed.”
Anyone with concerns can contact firstname.lastname@example.org – all emails will be responded to within two working days. If the enquiry is of an urgent nature, phone 01903 680740 ext. 283.