‘Work together to solve our housing crisis’, groups urge

The housing crisis event was hosted by Worthing Homes and Worthing Churches Homeless Projects SUS-170313-114504001
The housing crisis event was hosted by Worthing Homes and Worthing Churches Homeless Projects SUS-170313-114504001

Building upwards, modular homes and making interim use of vacant sites like Teville Gate were among industry figures’ ideas to solve the housing crisis at an event on Friday.

Worthing Homes and Worthing Churches Homeless Projects invited developers, politicians, housing providers and community groups to discuss housing and homelessness issues facing the town.

The event, in the Richmond Room at the Assembly Hall, in Stoke Abbott Road, Worthing, was set up to strengthen partnerships between the various organisations involved in the topic.

“If we are going to make progress and end homelessness, this is bigger than any one organisation,” said John Holmstrom, chief executive of Worthing Churches Homeless Projects .

The event heard how house prices in the town, which had risen 45.8 per cent over the last five years, made it difficult for families to get on the housing ladder.

A chronic shortage of both market and affordable housing, coupled with a lack of space for housebuilding, is also presenting difficulties.

And while Worthing was deemed to be bucking the national trend of rising homelessness, Worthing Borough Council director for communities Mary D’Arcy highlighted how the authority faced an average of 110 potential homelessness cases each month.

Council statistics indicate around 30 of these cases go on to make a formal homelessness application.

The event saw attendees consider three real-life crisis cases, with groups asked to pick just one to allocate emergency accommodation.

Guests then jotted down ideas to solve the issues being faced, with one developer calling for relaxed planning guidelines so vacant sites like Teville Gate could house interim temporary housing. Others suggested the town needed a debate on taller and denser housing developments to meet demand.