The changes were approved by the council's Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday 8 December and mean that it will now cover a broader range of people and situations.

"In 2016 the council set up a £50,000 fund known as the Homelessness Prevention Fund, but we found that the criteria were just too narrow and so it wasn't helping as many people as we would have liked," explains Councillor Alan Sutton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Communications, Licensing and Events at Chichester District Council. "As part of the council's Covid Recovery Plan, our Community and Housing Group identified a number of ways to help access housing for homeless households and improving this policy was a key area where we could make a huge difference. 

"As a council, our aims are to prevent and relieve homelessness through early intervention and support, reduce the number of placements into nightly paid accommodation, for example bed and breakfast, tackle rough sleeping and to ensure that housing is used effectively and is fit for purpose

We have consulted with our partners, and homeless charity Stonepillow have said that the changes will help rough sleepers to move out of hostel or supported accommodation and into a longer term home. It will also mean that more of their clients will be able to access our housing register.

"The improvements that we have agreed today will enable us to help people prevent or relieve their homelessness more quickly and in a more flexible way and we hope that it offers a much more person centred approach."

The council has identified a number of priority groups such as:

  • Residents  moving out of nightly paid accommodation, for example bed and breakfast
  • Rough sleepers actively working with the Rough Sleeper Team and/or partner agencies such as Stonepillow; and
  • Anyone coming to the council under the Homelessness Reduction Act who is actively working and co-operating with the housing advice team.

The district council will now work with its partner agencies who are also involved with preventing and relieving homelessness. The changes will take effect from 2 January 2021 and the scheme will be reviewed annually.

Date of release: 8 December 2020

Reference: 3952