A £2.1 million project to increase the amount of much-needed temporary accommodation for people facing homelessness in Chichester District has been approved by leading councillors.
It is expected that the accommodation will be funded by council investment of up to £1m with further funding to be sought from the Government agency, Homes England and the council’s Section 106 affordable homes funds.
The property to be redeveloped was purchased by the council in December last year, and up until now has been used to provide four one-bedroom flats for temporary accommodation.
The council is now proposing to redevelop the property to provide up to 21 units of additional short term accommodation for homeless families and single people who are vulnerable.
Once completed, the property will complement the existing accommodation and will be managed by the council’s accommodation team
“Sadly over the last six months there has been an increase of more than 13% in the number of people coming to us who are homeless, and this has included many families,” explains Councillor Jane Kilby, Cabinet Member for Housing at Chichester District Council. “Our existing emergency accommodation has been operating at full capacity for the past year, and we have had problems trying to find suitable accommodation for larger families. Unfortunately, as a result, we have been left with no other choice but to rely on finding bed and breakfast accommodation – often situated out of the district – to help keep a roof over people’s heads. We recognise that this is a far from ideal situation for those involved, especially for families with young children.
“This will give us an opportunity to provide many more units of temporary accommodation, and also provide more flexibility, including making it easier for us to house larger families. We know that this project will make a real long-term difference to homeless families in the district”
The council is aiming for work to begin in November 2019, with the properties ready for occupation the following autumn.
Cllr Kilby adds: “We are committed to reducing homelessness in the district, and this is one of a number of initiatives we have introduced over the past year to tackle the issue. In January the council approved the creation of a new post, to provide dedicated rough sleeper outreach on a one-to –one basis.
“We also secured more than £300,000 in Government funding, which we are using to employ additional housing advice and homelessness prevention staff including a Welfare Officer to help ensure vulnerable people are accessing all the right benefits to prevent them going into debt and being made homeless.”