Client speaks out on value of crisis service in light of funding cut plans

The client was forced to stop working as a taxi driver following a stroke
The client was forced to stop working as a taxi driver following a stroke

A client of a crisis service helping the homeless has spoken of the help he received, as the scheme faces a 50 per cent cut in its funding.

Home Works, which helps those facing homelessness across East Sussex, is fighting proposals by East Sussex County Council to slash its financial support by half.

A user of Home Works, who did not want to give his name, was put in touch with the service after being told he had to stop working as a taxi driver following a stroke.

He said: “It took me three weeks to apply for benefits and when I did it was really hard – I had no idea what I had to do. The council officer contacted Home Works because they saw that I didn’t know what I was doing. The next day Home Works called me. I wasn’t sure they could give me that much help. That changed at the end of our first meeting.

“If I hadn’t had help from Home Works, I don’t know where I’d be. We had a meeting to see what I needed. I needed everything because by that time I was homeless and sleeping in a car because I couldn’t pay my bills. I couldn’t have a hot meal. I couldn’t go to the bathroom. I was just surviving.

“Support has made a 100 per cent difference to my life. My Home Works worker does everything she can. She helped me find accommodation, and get a loan for the first rent payment and deposit. She helped me with the Universal Credit application too.

“Anything I need, Home Works helps me out, step by step. My worker sits down, helps me with forms, accompanies me to appointments, tells me how the system works, what I am entitled to, and explains what I can do. She has been 100 per cent there for me. If Home Works hadn’t helped me, I’d have stayed homeless.

“The support from Home Works felt personal. Anytime I picked up the phone for help, they were there. They said ‘yes’. It was so friendly and made me feel so relaxed. It was so welcoming.

“Home Works has helped me move from being homeless and suicidal to going to college and planning for the future. Home Works gives you the power to help you find your way. It’s like fuel for an engine.”

The service is asking people to take part in a public consultation to help prevent the cut in funding, before Wednesday, April 25.

Visit https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/adult-social-care/savings/ to have your say on the proposals.

Home Works employees will be campaigning in Hastings town centre on Friday, April 6 from 1.30 to 4.30om; Saturday, April 7 from 11.30am to 2.30pm; and Monday, April 9 from 9.30am to 12.30pm.