Leader of Worthing Council calls on government to help tackle homelessness
Released: Tuesday, 21 November 2023
The leader of Worthing Borough Council has signed an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging him to provide more cash to help local authorities tackle the homelessness crisis.
The letter, which was written after an emergency summit hosted by the District Councils' Network, outlines six urgent policy asks for the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, to address ahead of the government's Autumn Statement.
Amongst these are a call for councils to be given the long-term funding necessary to increase the supply of social housing, and for the government to increase the Homelessness Prevention Grant by £150m in the next financial year. All the measures called for in the letter would help district councils to continue providing an effective homelessness safety net, whilst ensuring homelessness is prevented, reducing public expenditure in future.
The number of people who are turning to councils due to being faced with homelessness has risen in recent years - a situation which has been exacerbated by the current cost of living crisis. In order to rise to the challenge, many councils have rapidly escalated their temporary accommodation provision.
The cost implications of this significantly threaten the financial stability of local authorities. In Worthing, the council is currently housing over 300 people in temporary accommodation, and it's expected the total cost of this provision will be around £5 million by the end of the year. This is putting extreme pressure on the council's budget, reducing the amount of money that's available to spend on other frontline services.
Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper, the leader of Worthing Borough Council, said:
“As a council we are absolutely here to help our citizens when they're in need, but the rise in demand means that our current situation is unworkable. We need support from central government if we are to meet this challenge.
“Whilst the cost implications of temporary accommodation overwhelm council budgets, the current situation also threatens to worsen health, social and education outcomes for families who are forced to use a system which is struggling to meet demand. Funding and support from the government will help us to ensure that we can meet the needs of our vulnerable citizens, alongside delivering other essential services for our communities.”
Page last updated: 21 February 2024