Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling on the council to rethink its plans to axe funding for a homeless crisis service.
East Sussex County Council is currently consulting on its proposals to reduce the funding for the Home Works service by 50 per cent.
A petition, led by clients of the service, has attracted more than 400 signatures. It states: “If this reduction goes ahead, it will have devastating consequences for thousands of local vulnerable people who are in crisis situations. More than 6,000 people received support from Home Works last year.
“Not only does this help the clients directly receiving the support, it creates a ripple effect throughout families and other services.
“Early intervention services regarding homelessness are currently being used to full capacity.
“If the 50 per cent cuts come in, that’s going to be 3,000 people unsupported within the next financial year who will potentially lose out on support. We are determined to stop these cuts so please sign, share and click on the links for more information about what else you may be able to do.”
Neil Blanchard, chief executive of Southdown, provider of Home Works, said: “East Sussex County Council confirmed at its Cabinet meeting on February 6 that it proposes to reduce the funding for the Home Works service by 50 per cent (£1.6 million).
“If this reduction goes ahead it would have devastating consequences for thousands of local vulnerable people.
“It would increase the number of people forced to sleep rough on the streets and result in a loss of access to support for people with multiple and complex issues such as mental health challenges, living in poverty and fleeing domestic abuse.
“It would also transfer considerable additional pressures onto East Sussex housing, health and social care services. Home Works plays a crucial role in cases where other services cannot deal with the whole range of complex and inter-related problems people are facing.
“As such, we are campaigning for continuation of Home Works’ funding to be prioritised. We acknowledge the extremely challenging situation facing the County Council and fully support its ‘Stand up for East Sussex’ campaign asking Government to rethink the funding settlement for local public services, but feel that the cut to Home Works is disproportionate and short sighted.
“We passionately believe that a true indicator of a civilised and caring society is how it treats and supports its most vulnerable citizens when they are in crisis. This is a core reason why Southdown was established 45 years ago. We are seeing a clear and concerning deterioration in the quality of life for those that most need our help.
“We are asking members of the public and any people who have benefited from the Home Works service to respond to the public consultation survey available on the Council website and help protect this vital service.”
Home Works is urging people to take part in the council’s consultation on its budget proposals, before April 25, at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/ascsavings.
The client-led petition can also be found at www.change.org/p/home-works-southdown-client-led-campaign-group-stop-the-homelessness-prevention-services-cuts-in-your-town.
More stories: Client speaks out on value of crisis service.