Mid Sussex District Council allocates £4.2 million to fund more temporary accommodation

PR2280/ES/MF - 25/06/2020

Mid Sussex District Council has allocated funding of £4.2 million to boost the amount of temporary accommodation available in the District.

The Council works hard to support local people who are at risk of becoming homeless and helps them to secure accommodation. However, demand for social housing in Mid Sussex is extremely high and it can take time for a suitable property to become available. Temporary Housing is used to provide people with a place to stay in the short-term until a permanent home can be found.

The demand for temporary accommodation in Mid Sussex rose by 80% between 1 January 2019 and the same date in 2020. The surge in demand led the Council’s Cabinet to recommend investment in new temporary accommodation on 16 March 2020. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has seen the need for temporary accommodation become even more urgent, with an unprecedented 101 households currently in temporary accommodation.    

The largest demand is from single households who are vulnerable and have complex needs. The Council is proposing to purchase 10 units to help people with these specific needs. In addition, the funding will support the purchase of a further five family homes to add to the 15 purchased in 2019.

Councillor Andrew MacNaughton, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning said:

“By working to increase the amount of temporary accommodation available in Mid Sussex we can make a huge difference to the lives of local people who are at risk of homelessness.

“Currently, when all our temporary accommodation is full, we have no choice but to place people into guest houses located outside the District, often in Brighton and Crawley. Living outside the District exacerbates what is already a stressful time because it makes travelling to work, accessing healthcare, taking children to school or arranging childcare much harder.

“If we can provide more temporary accommodation in Mid Sussex we can help more people to remain close to their families and support networks, who can help them through this difficult time.”

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said:

“The coronavirus outbreak is having a serious impact on the demand for our housing services and it’s vital for us to continue providing our residents with the best possible support.

“The pandemic is placing significant pressure on our finances but thankfully the prudent approach we have taken to spending in recent years means our reserves are strong and we are still in a position to invest in priority areas like this

“By taking control and purchasing our own temporary accommodation we can provide higher quality living spaces for our residents in locations that enable them to stay close to their local community.

“It’s a sound investment for taxpayers too because guest house accommodation is an expensive option. By investing this money in our own temporary accommodation, we will save over £240,000 each year.”

Investment in additional affordable housing is part of Mid Sussex District Council’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025, which was adopted by the Council on Wednesday 24 June 2020. The UK Government has committed to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027.