There were chants of ‘people not cuts’ from a band of protesters as councillors arrived at County Hall, Chichester, to discuss £6m of proposed cuts to adult social care.
The group met before a meeting of the health and adult social care select committee to hear the proposals discussed by councillors for the first time since they were announced in August.
There had been concern over the past few weeks that Crawley Open House would have to shut if the cuts went ahead.
Peter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council, handed a 9,000-name petition to West Sussex County Council vice-chairman Roger Oakley.
The petition called on the council to reject the proposed cuts, saying they would cause ‘untold misery for the most vulnerable members of our society’.
As well as the county’s homeless shelters, protesters said they were worried about the impact faced by the local Foyers, which help young people, the domestic violence shelters and sheltered accommodation and extra care housing for the elderly.
Michael Jones (Lab, Southgate & Gossops Green) predicted an ‘eruption of homelessness’ if the cuts went ahead.
And he had a very simple message for Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults and health, who will have the final say.
Mr Jones said: “Abandon these proposals now. Don’t waste people’s time. It’s irresponsible making people feel insecure and frightened.
“There is almost certainly a way to find the money and savings elsewhere without cutting such a vital area of service.”