Homeless people are set to receive greater support after plans to create a temporary accommodation centre were approved. Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee approved the proposal to convert the former NHS building in Lyndhurst Road into a 37-bedroom hub on Wednesday January 10.
The proposal, which was brought forward by Roffey Homes and Worthing Churches Homeless Project (WCHP) in conjunction with the council’s housing department, will support local single homeless people who are in need of emergency accommodation.
With emergency housing at a premium in the town, councillors believe the centre will offer safe and secure short-term shelter for people in Adur and Worthing until suitable permanent properties can be found. As well as ensuring the homeless receive greater support and care, the move will also reduce the local authority’s reliance on expensive and unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation.
Under the plans, Roffey Homes will be offering the building to WCHP rent free. The proposal will also see a three-bedroom flat and offices for use by WCHP on the ground floor. Up to 15 staff from a range of charities and other agencies will be based in the building.
Councillors heard how the accommodation will have a staff controlled central entrance and a minimum of two staff on duty 24/7 in order to ensure it is fully safe and well managed.
Permission to use the former NHS offices and nurses’ accommodation as a short-stay accommodation centre for up to five years was granted by councillors on the planning committee last night. WCHP said it would use that time to work with the council and other partners to create a more long-term solution to providing permanent short-stay accommodation for those in need.
A report presented to senior councillors last month showed that the number of households in emergency accommodation across Adur and Worthing has increased by 35% in the last 14 months.
The short term accommodation at Lyndhurst Road is part of a wider plan being led by Adur & Worthing Councils known as the Adur and Worthing homelessness strategy.
This will see Worthing council contribute £6 million over the next three years towards acquiring emergency or temporary accommodation for those declared homeless.