New flats plan to bring homeless Worthing residents back to their town

Released: Thursday, 21 December 2023

An empty office building in Worthing town centre is to be converted into much-needed homes for locals currently being housed outside the borough.

We will convert the offices we own at 24 Marine Place into five one-bedroom and studio flats for local residents who would otherwise continue to be housed elsewhere at greater expense.

Well over 200 households from the town are currently having to be housed by us away from Worthing because of a severe shortage of social housing here.

While some are staying in flats or houses in other parts of West Sussex, some are having to be housed outside the county - many miles away from their jobs, their children's schools and their families and friends.

An increasing number of people are coming to us for help because there is no space for them with relatives or friends, or because they have been evicted by landlords wanting to increase their rent or to sell their homes.

We're looking for sites across the borough where we can build our own temporary accommodation as well as privately-owned local properties that could be used to house these residents plus other members of the community who are on our housing list.

Cllr Emma Taylor-Beal, Worthing's cabinet member for housing and citizen services, said:

“Too many local people currently have to be housed outside the borough, sometimes hundreds of miles away.

“That can make it difficult for them to maintain a long-term job, makes it more difficult for them to get support from their family and friends and affects their physical and mental health.

“By creating more homes for Worthing people who need them, we can ensure no one in our community is left behind.”

We have set aside up to £1.1m for the Marine Place project but hope that a proportion of the cost will be paid for by Homes England, the national agency that funds the construction of new affordable housing.

It costs us an average of £9,150 a year for every household in temporary or emergency accommodation and this price continues to rise. Placing five people in the Marine Place flats could save us more than £45,000 per year - as well as giving the citizens a more stable environment to live in.

Worthing has been able to secure funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to support housing initiatives because of the number of people with complex needs in the borough who have nowhere to live.

We're working with housing association Worthing Homes, homelessness charity Turning Tides and Homes England to create 21 much-needed apartments in Ivy Arch Road to prevent people having to sleep rough.

We also intend to sign an agreement to house 37 local people in George V Avenue and Goring Road in Worthing and at a property in High Street, Littlehampton.

Photos: The empty office building in Marine Place, Worthing

PR23-180 - The empty office building in Marine Place, Worthing (1)

PR23-180 - The empty office building in Marine Place, Worthing (2)

(PR23-180)

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Page last updated: 21 February 2024

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