Eastbourne Foodbank is calling on churches, businesses and organisations in the town to back a campaign urging the Government to urgently address a growing crisis in housing support for society’s most vulnerable people.

The campaign is being driven by 120 district and borough councils, of all political parties, including Eastbourne Borough Council, and demands extra funding for hard-pressed councils providing emergency and temporary accommodation.

It also wants the Government to act more quickly to raise Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates which will reduce the number of people requiring emergency accommodation because they can’t afford their rent.

Juliet Mead, Eastbourne Foodbank’s Campaigns Manager, said: “We all know there is not enough social housing. This means people rent privately but LHA rates have not increased in line with market rents. Tenants have seen large increases in their rent meaning they often have shortfalls of up to £500 to find every month. As a result, people, already on low incomes, are being forced to visit the foodbank and if they can’t keep up with those rent payments they have to be housed in emergency or temporary accommodation.

“Councils urgently need extra funding from Government to be able to provide our essential housing safety net and protect people from destitution.”

Juliet said Eastbourne Foodbank was increasingly seeing families living in temporary accommodation and others unable to afford their rent.

“This simply is unsustainable”, she added. “We know the Government has agreed to increase LHA rates in April – but more urgent help is needed. People need that support now.”

Juliet said she hoped many businesses, organisations and churches in the town would sign up to signal their support. She added: “This is a national campaign but we really want to add not only our voice but a collective voice from Eastbourne to support it.”

And it is simple for organisations to get behind the campaign. She added: “All they have to do is visit: https://forms.gle/JAPfAJotpvviymjR9 and sign up for their organisation, then leave the rest to us. The more local companies, churches and organisations get behind this the louder the Eastbourne voice will be.”