Problem is not going away

Members of The Ark in Horsham which helps people out of addiction poverty and homelessness Photo by Derek Martin
Members of The Ark in Horsham which helps people out of addiction poverty and homelessness Photo by Derek Martin

THE director of Horsham charity The Ark have said the problem of homelessness is not going away.

Lisa Burrell, who works with the town’s homeless people on a daily basis, said more people are coming to them for help.

She said: “We are very much aware of more people coming in for advice on housing. It’s worse then in 2010.

“Whether that’s because we are more established, I don’t know, but experience shows us that the past six months has been really pressurised.”

High private rents in Horsham are a problem. Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government last week figures for the South East show a 39 per cent year-on-year rise in the number of households becoming homeless due to their private tenancy coming to an end.

Lisa continued: “People on benefits are often asked for a guarantor or to come up with a deposit. How do you come up with one and half month’s rent (when you are homeless)?

“We’ve got two families asking for private letting because they want to stay in the Horsham area and this is where their support network is, but their local housing allowance (from the council) is not enough.

“For a family in Horsham I calculated recently that people would need to top up £160 for a reasonable sized two bedroom home available at the moment.

“People cannot afford to stay in the locality. It’s what we have seen and what we have known, but no one wants to know that Horsham has this problem.

“This is a real problem. It’s not pretend, we’re not making it up and if they came out of their offices and saw the faces of these people they would have to acknowledge that.

“It’s ok to say Horsham is a wonderful place to live, but only if you have the money.

“We are hearing more and more and seeing more and more. It’s not going away.”