Vital accommodation secured for people at risk of homelessness in Worthing

Vital accommodation for people at risk of homelessness has been secured by Adur & Worthing Councils after a deal was struck with local property developers.

After transforming the former HSBC offices in Farncombe Road, Worthing, into high-quality, energy-efficient apartments, Patagonia Properties has entered into a five-year agreement with the councils.

The deal has been struck through the award-winning Opening Doors scheme, which sees the councils provide guaranteed rent with no fees to landlords in exchange for nomination rights.

Homes are then provided to people requiring temporary accommodation, meaning those in need are placed in good-quality housing close to schools, work and support networks rather than short-term shelter outside the area.

Councillor Kevin Jenkins, leader of Worthing Borough Council, with Chris Scorer and Reinhardt Slabbert of Patagonia Properties, and Steve Hay, Opening Doors manager at the councils

The Farncombe Road site is the first time a block of accommodation has been signed up to the scheme. Over the five years, the 21 units have the potential of saving the councils about £950,000 in temporary accommodation costs.

The agreement takes the total number of properties secured under Opening Doors to nearly 90 – with dozens of local families benefiting from stable tenancies and six-figure savings reinvested into providing more long-term solutions in the local area.

Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council’s executive member for customer services, which includes housing, said: “Opening Doors has been a huge success since launching just a few years ago, helping us deal with the perfect storm of housing-related issues - such as rising rents, limited housing stock and relatively low wages - which has seen a huge rise in working people presenting as homeless.

“Rather than compete with private providers on the open market, we have taken the bold step to work with them and create an attractive offer for landlords with existing homes. It means they benefit from guaranteed income each month and we can provide local housing to local families.

Councillor Kevin Jenkins on a visit to the new Opening Doors properties in Worthing

“This latest deal with Patagonia Properties is proof that Opening Doors makes economic sense as well as social sense. I’m incredibly grateful to Chris and Reinhardt for working with us on this and hope that more developers and landlords will follow their lead in joining the scheme soon.”

Chris Scorer, of Patagonia Properties, which owns the building, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide high-end quality living for Adur & Worthing Councils. We are hoping that, by providing these modern and efficient flats, we are giving tenants pride to look after them on a long term basis and calling them a home.

“We know that by investing in energy efficiency from our side, that tenants will have the added benefits of lower utility bills, helping them to reduce their monthly outgoings.

“Whilst this has been the first major development we have worked in collaboration with a local authority on, the team have made the process easy and we certainly hope that this will be the start of a long term relationship with providing accommodation solutions to Adur and Worthing councils.”

The interior of revamped homes in Farncombe Road, Worthing. Photo: Emma Wood and Crowding Bricks

For more details, visit the Adur & Worthing Councils website.

The revamped HSBC offices in Worthing will be used to support people at risk of homelessness in Adur and Worthing