At a meeting today, leading Councillors at Chichester District Council heard how the 17 new flats are now all occupied and supporting families, couples, and individuals in need of a temporary home while they get back on their feet. They were also told that the project has been delivered under budget.

This important work, which was completed in March, forms a critical part of the council's homelessness strategy and now provides additional flats to complement the short-stay accommodation already managed by the council.

"Knowing that new accommodation is already making such a real and significant difference to people's lives is very heart warming and makes me feel incredibly proud of what this project has achieved," says Councillor Alan Sutton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Communications, Licensing and Events at Chichester District Council.

"What's so special about the new accommodation is that it provides a warm, safe, and high-quality home environment, as well as a platform upon which people can start to rebuild their lives. One gentleman who moved into the accommodation was so relieved to have somewhere to stay that he was overcome with tears.

"I'm also really pleased to say that this project has been delivered under budget, and this is credit to the dedicated team who have worked so hard to keep the project on track during the challenges that we've all faced over the past couple of years. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this project a reality."

"As a council, making sure that our residents have a roof over their head and the financial support that they need is a top priority. With rising energy bills, the increased cost of rent in the private sector, and the number of people who are experiencing debt accumulated during the pandemic, there are more people than ever who are worried about homelessness, making this project even more important.

"As part of the work, we've refurbished six bedsits that had shared facilities in our existing accommodation to provide three more 1-bedroom self-contained fats, one of which is an accessible flat for any resident who may use a wheelchair. In addition, the new building offers 13 studio flats, three 2-bedroom flats and one 1-bedroom flat, which is wheelchair accessible. All of the flats are modern and energy efficient, and we know that this is going to make a huge difference to those who find themselves at risk of homelessness for many years to come."

The new building features some eco-friendly credentials, which form an important part of this project. This includes solar panels on the roof to generate renewable electricity, which will be used to supply electricity to communal areas to help reduce the running costs of the building. These features link to how the council is working to help tackle the effects of climate change within the district, and forms part of its Climate Emergency Change Action plan.

Alan adds: "If you haven't already, make sure you visit our Freeland Close Project web page to watch a video that we have created to explain why this project is so vital and to give a short tour of some of the accommodation. Also on this page, you can read about the wider programme of support that the council is offering people who are facing homelessness."

Date of Release: 7 June 2022

Reference: 4127