The lives of many homeless people in Worthing have been turned around this year – but continuing to help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities in 2019 will be an ‘ongoing battle’, a charity has said.
For the second part of the Herald and Gazette’s Christmas homelessness campaign, we asked Turning Tides, a charity supporting homeless people in Sussex, about its achievements in 2018 and the challenges it faces next year.
One of the charity’s biggest initiatives has been the launch of its 38-bed accommodation unit in Lyndhurst Road in April.
Sue Stevens from Turning Tides said: “We acknowledge that there were some settling in issues with the local community but adjustments have been made and things do seem to be settling down. “This project, as with all our projects, has seen many people make some life changing improvements to their lives.”
The new name reflected the fact that the charity, which started in Worthing, now works further afield elsewhere in Sussex, Mrs Stevens said.
It also incorporates feedback from clients, some of whom said the previous name initially stopped them from seeking help from the organisation, she said.
Mrs Stevens said: “The rebrand has been very successful with a lot of positive feedback received.”
Looking forward, she said: “In 2019, we will continue our work to try to end homelessness in the communities in which we work.
“This is an ongoing battle as we struggle to secure sufficient income to enable us to do our work as well as sufficient suitable accommodation for our clients.
“The lack of affordable suitable accommodation and move on options for our clients causes many issues for us.”
With the county council having just announced funding cuts of £4million to housing support services across West Sussex, Turning Tides’ main challenge next year will be around continuing to provide services with less money available, Mrs Stevens said.
“It is inevitable that there will be some effect on our clients,” she said.
“We also know that with the introduction of Universal Credit we will see an increase in the number of people needing our help and add to that the fact that homelessness is growing across the country we know our services are needed more now than ever.”
However, she said: “We are very fortunate to live in an area where a large proportion of the community, including the police, council and other agencies are supportive of our work and are understanding of the issues our clients face.
“Everyone is an individual with his or her own story.
“It is only by working together we can help them change their lives for the better.”