A 37-bed homeless hostel is due to open in Worthing by the end of April in a five-year project by the homeless charity Worthing Churches Homeless Projects (WCHP).
The hostel, on Lyndhurst Road, is a former NHS building owned by Roffey Homes, and once housed nurses from nearby Worthing Hospital.
Roffey Homes, the developer of the seafront Splash Point apartment project due for completion by 2020, has loaned WCHP the building for five years. It is also helping with re-development costs.
“It’s an opportunity to test a few different models,” said Amy Oboussier, social media community fundraiser with WCHP.
“When the five-year contract ends we will be looking for alternative space to provide what’s necessary in the town – and it’s necessary. Our outreach workers counted 35 rough sleepers in Worthing in November. The year before, it was just 11.”
Roffey Homes managing director Ben Cheal told C4S: “We’ve had a long association with Worthing Churches Homeless Projects because my father, Ian Cheal, helped to found it. This is a property that’s empty and was going to be flattened for re-development but we’re not going to do that for up to five years. At the end of that time we’ve agreed that if we see any other options or any sites that could be developed for WCHP, we will help.”
WCHP already has four hostels which house a total of 60 people a night, as well as a day centre in Worthing’s Marine Place, near the seafront. It also has recovery houses in Littlehampton and Horsham.
The rise in homelessness is a national trend, and Amy says government figures put the rise at 169% since 2010.
Amy told C4S that the main reasons why a person could become homeless were benefit caps, the introduction of universal credit, and domestic issues. Universal credit does not affect pensioners.
For more about homelessness and how universal credit could affect you as it rolls out across the county, we will be running a fuller feature in our summer edition – so keep an eye out for the June issue.