A HOMELESS emergency is coming to Sussex this winter with record numbers of people receiving support in 2021, according to a charity that supports people living on the streets.

Turning Tides, a homelessness charity based in West Sussex, said it has provided services to over 900 people with no place to call home, which is a record number for the organisation.

The charity is warning that the hardest time of year is still yet to come for people at risk of homelessness.

Ruth Poyner, head of fundraising for Turning Tides, said: “Christmas is the hardest time of year for those we support because of the harsh winter weather and also the heartache the holiday itself brings. It can reduce people to a truly hopeless place.

“But with the help of the community, we can ensure despair doesn’t steal people away. Instead they get a chance to rebuild. This is the gift you could give someone this Christmas.

“Last winter, more than 60,000 households became homeless - and that was before the recent ending of the furlough scheme and the hike in living costs. Heaven knows what awaits us in the months to come.

“What we do know is that our services are needed now more than ever. Support from our community is vital.”

The charity currently runs 39 different projects across West Sussex, offering a range of support services. They help each individual reach their fullest potential despite the issues they may face.

The Argus: Turning Tides say this has been a record year for the charityTurning Tides say this has been a record year for the charity

Zoe, who has received support from Turning Tides for the last three years, experienced much trauma throughout her life and said she had everything stacked against her.

She was too scared to sleep on the streets, but said she ended up being exploited by criminals. From here, Zoe said she came to the charity who in her words “saved my life”.

Zoe said: “When I needed help they were there for me. I now have a future. I have a home and I am safe. This is the first Christmas that I can say that.”

Turning Tides is currently running a Christmas appeal for its frontline services where it provides food, clothes, warmth and round the clock support over the festive period.

The charity state that its ultimate goal is to help people build a lasting pathway out of homelessness.

For more information, visit Turning Tides’s website.

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