Why do people become homeless?
Every person's story is unique and we will work with anyone affected by homelessness to understand their personal circumstances which have led to them becoming homeless. However, there are a number of common factors that can contribute to why many people find themselves facing homelessness.
Personal Problems: Including physical or mental health difficulties, drug or alcohol misuse, or a complex mixture of both (dual diagnosis).
Traumatic experiences; including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, experience of domestic violence, and unstable home environments.
Social Problems: Changes to housing costs/availability of affordable housing
Availability of supported housing
Access to mental health treatment/support
There are currently a number of known individuals sleeping rough in the district. While the overall number of rough sleepers has not risen over the last several years, their visibility has increased; especially in Chichester city centre.
The reasons why people become homeless can be extremely complex, and quite often they require much more support than just a roof over their heads. In many cases, people are offered accommodation, only to turn it down or sustain accommodation for short periods only to return to rough sleeping. This is because they have other issues that need to be resolved and supported.
If you are concerned about someone you have seen sleeping rough, then get in touch with StreetLink, which helps to connect homeless people with their local services. You can send Street Link an alert via its website or by calling 0300 500 0914. Full details on how to use Streetlink can be found on their website.
When you do send an alert, you should include three things:
1) A specific location for the rough sleeping site. You can do this by using a map to pinpoint the exact location and then providing a written description of the location.
2) Details of the time that the rough sleeper has been seen at the location.
3) Any information about the rough sleeper that will help find them (gender, approximate age, what the person looks like, what they are wearing).
The StreetLink notifications are sent to Chichester District Council's Rough Sleeper Outreach Worker, who can offer intensive assistance to help rough sleepers to access support and accommodation and make positive changes in their lives.
What is Diverted Giving?
Diverted Giving is the act of donating money, food, toiletries and clothing to homeless charities, rather than giving directly to rough sleepers. In 2019 the Council plan to deliver bi-annual Diverted Giving Campaign events in partnership with homeless charities to advertise the work we deliver and how to best donate your time, belongings and/or food.
Why can't I give directly to rough sleepers?
Many people believe they are doing a good thing by giving rough sleepers money, but begging is illegal and doesn't offer a permanent solution to homelessness. Because of the money they make, rough sleepers will often turn down offers of help from support services, instead choosing to remain on the streets.
Additionally, some beggars are not homeless and beg because it is financially rewarding. Although it is entirely your decision if you wish to give to beggars; if you want to help people to engage with the services that can offer accommodation and other services then donating to your chosen charity will not only support the work they do but has the ability to help more than one individual.
How can I help rough sleepers?
Donations to local charities of food, toiletries, household items, clothing, etc. help support vital services, such as Stonepillow and lunch clubs, to carry out work in the community.
A list of most needed items can be found on Stonepillow's website.
The council works within a multi-agency panel which includes a number of agencies including; Stonepillow, Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council Adult Services and Change, Grow, Live (CGL) to find out who is rough sleeping in the district.
The multi-agency panel meet monthly to share knowledge about the levels of rough sleeping across the district and collect relevant information to engage the council's Rough Sleeping Outreach Worker to verify rough sleeping activity and begin to engage with individuals.
The council's Rough Sleeping Outreach Worker builds a relationship with rough sleepers in an effort to understand the individual's needs, cause for homelessness, and how together they can consider the available options to change their current lifestyle and secure suitable accommodation.
Ending rough sleeping is more that securing accommodation for the homeless. It can take weeks, months, or years to engage with some rough sleepers. The effect of homelessness can have a significant impact affecting the desire or motivation to change.
Anyone who is homeless or threated with homelessness can apply to the council for assistance to prevent or relieve homelessness. Once the council is able to verify that you are eligible to receive council support and are homeless or threatened with homelessness the council will complete a housing Need Assessment and will create a personalised housing plan (PHP) which will identify the steps you and the council will undertake in an effort to prevent or relieve your homelessness.
CDC's Commitment to Ending Rough Sleeping
Prevention: Tackling rough sleeping is one of Chichester District Council's key priorities. We recognise that if we are to minimise the considerable harm caused by rough sleeping, the most important thing we can do is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Intervention: Prevention is vital, but if we are to ensure no one has to sleep rough again, we must act and intervene now to support the people who are experiencing it today. The council's multi-agency rough sleeper panel initiates intervention and provides the intelligence required by the council's Rough Sleeper Outreach Worker who operates our intervention service.
Recovery: We need to ensure that people have support in place to move into sustainable accommodation. A stable home is an essential element in a person's recovery from rough sleeping and needs to go hand in hand with ﬂexible support that is tailored to individual needs. Through the Government Rapid Rehousing fund a supported housing support worker who provides support to ex-rough sleepers in any term of accommodation to help sustain the accommodation.
Enforcement Interventions vs Informal Actions
Councils across England and Wales have used a variety of legislative measures to address rough sleeping including Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), Dispersal Orders, the Vagrancy Act 1824, and Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs).
However, homeless people are far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators, and rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence compared to the general public.
Chichester District Council's strategy to end rough sleeping in the district involves fewer formal measures, and more informal actions to address rough sleeping. These measures include 'designing out' rough sleeping via the use of 'defensive architecture' (street furniture and environment), the use of street cleansing or 'wetting down' common areas occupied by rough sleepers, noise pollution via sounds deliberately projected through spaces used by rough sleepers, asking people to 'move on' to another area, and the Diverted Giving Campaign; asking members of the public to reconsider giving money and/or food to beggars and give to local charities instead.
Role and Responsibilities - The rough sleeper outreach worker will acknowledge and respond to StreetLink referrals; attempting to verify the individual the member of the public is reporting. In accordance with the Homelessness Reduction Act, the rough sleeper outreach worker will complete a Housing Needs Assessment with rough sleepers who want to access assistance from the council.
How to refer to the rough sleeper outreach worker - If you have concerns about someone you believe is sleeping rough, let us know via through Street Link.
Diverted Giving Campaign - See Diverted Giving Tab
Rough Sleepers Panel
The Rough Sleepers Panel is a monthly, multiagency meeting attended by representatives from Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council Adult Services, Sussex Police, Stonepillow, City Angels, and Change Grow Live (CGL). The Rough Sleepers Panel share intelligence about rough sleepers in the district, and this information is then used by the rough sleeper outreach worker to verify new identified individuals, support and assist rough sleepers to consider lifestyle changes.
Out of Hours
If you are homeless and need somewhere to stay immediately, please contact the Housing Advice Team directly and as soon as possible for an emergency assessment on 01243 534734.
If you are made homeless in an emergency situation outside of office hours, please contact the out of hours number on 01243 785339.
Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)
Every winter, Chichester District Council provides severe weather provision for homeless people.
SWEP is triggered when there is a forecast of a drop to zero degrees or below, for three consecutive nights. The protocol should be implemented (i.e. accommodation made available) on the first night of the forecast.
Chichester District Council works with homeless charities and other partners to make sure that all rough sleepers will know about this provision.
The service is also available on the council's Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Engaging people in support
SWEP often provides an opportunity to engage individuals who have been reluctant to accept support in the past, or people who are new to the streets, where a connection with services can help prevent their situation getting worse. Support is provided by experienced staff with a range of flexible options offered.
For more information please visit Homeless.org.uk
Rough Sleepers Estimate
Since autumn 2010, all local authorities have been required to submit an annual figure to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to indicate the number of people sleeping rough in their area on a typical night. They can arrive at this figure by means of an evidence-based estimate, a count of visible rough sleeping, or an estimate including a spotlight count. This annual rough sleeping figure allows local authorities to track progress, consider whether current measures are effective in tackling rough sleeping and if new approaches are needed. MHCLG produces a statistical release based on the data each year.
For more information please visit the Homeless.org.uk page on the extent of rough sleeping
The Old Glassworks
The Hub is Stonepillow's drop-in day centre, providing clients with access to a range of facilities and sign-posting to other services.
The hub is open Monday - Wednesday 7:45 - 14:00 and Thursday - Friday 7:45 - 16:00. There is a daily charge of 50p, providing clients with breakfast, lunch, and hot drinks throughout the day. There are shower and laundry facilities available for use and Project Workers are available to offer structured, individual support plans.
Persons wanting to access supported hostel accommodation should visit Chichester Hub at St Cyriac's, Chichester PO19 1AJ to complete an application. The hostel does not have direct access and so potential clients should not come directly to Chichester Hostel.
The Hostel provides accommodation to homeless people. It is open 24-hours a day throughout the year.
There are 17 individual bedrooms with communal bathrooms at the hostel with a separate dining area. Hot and cold meals are provided throughout the day, and there are shower facilities, a second-hand clothing store and laundry facilities.
Operating a 'Long Term Stay' programme which offers clients a bed for 28 days, the focus of the hostel is to give people the stability and skills to make positive choices towards getting back into the community. Clients who are most committed to taking responsibility for their own behaviour and possible substance misuse issues, as well as engaging effectively with our other services, will be offered a 28-day option.
When rough sleepers have a safe and secure place to sleep, they have the chance to focus on their recovery. The Long Term Stay Programme, along with an individual support plan and dedicated key worker, enables them to continue managing their lifestyle and making the changes needed to move on.
For more information please visit Stonepillow.
Breakfast Club - Every Monday at 8:30am
Old Market Avenue,
Lunch Club - Every Tuesday from 11am - 1pm
The Family Centre
21 Orchard Street,
Lunch Club - Every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 1pm
Hosted by Chichester Baptist Church
The Family Centre
21 Orchard Street,
Chichester District Foodbank
Providing 3 days' worth of nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred in crisis. Part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.
Every Monday 2pm - 4pm
Every Wednesday 2pm - 4pm
Every Friday 4pm - 6pm
The Family Centre
21 Orchard Street,
For more information please visit the Chichester district foodbank
A charity that supports vulnerable, homeless and marginalised people; helping them to transform their lives, providing accommodation and helping them gain the skills, confidence and opportunities to live a fulfilled life.
Alabaré run a range of homes, drop in centres and support services dedicated to helping the homeless and vulnerable.
Operating in the south and south west of England, specifically in Wiltshire and Somerset.
Anyone can be affected by homelessness. Relationship breakdowns, loss of employment and ill health are all common reasons why someone can become homeless, but there are many others.
If housing is a problem for you, then it is very important that you seek help and advice as soon as possible.
Change, Grow, Live (CGL)
The Old Post Office
Old Post Office Mews
The West Sussex Drug and Alcohol Wellbeing Network is a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for adults aged 25+, families and affected others. The West team covers Bognor Regis, Chichester and Littlehampton.
- A fully integrated drug and alcohol service, whatever your level of use.
- Non-judgmental support and advice from safe, trained, experienced professionals.
- One-to-one and group support to look at how drugs and alcohol are affecting you, your relationships, and your overall health and wellbeing.
- A safe place for people to come and feel safe to explore issues relating to their substance use.
- Medical support if you need it, from our team of nurses and doctors.
- BBV testing and Hepatitis B vaccinations.
- A specialist family service.
If you are homeless or threated with homelessness please contact our housing advice team through our housing advice form and a housing adviser will be in contact with you within two working days.