Construction company, W.Stirland, will work to redevelop the council's existing temporary accommodation to provide an additional 17 flats for people who are homeless in the Chichester District.

"We are incredibly pleased to announce that we have reached this important milestone," says Councillor Alan Sutton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Communications, Licensing and Events at Chichester District Council. "Appointing a contractor signals a key step forward in a project that we know will make a real long-term difference to people."

"Over the past few months, our officers have been working hard to move this project forward. Part of this work has been to invite contractors to submit their ideas to us, and we were delighted with the interest received from some very strong candidates. We are confident that the selected contractor will be the best choice to make this project a reality.

"We look forward to the next stage of the project and anticipate that work will start on the site this year. Once completed, the property will complement the existing accommodation managed by our accommodation team."

Shaun Stirland, Managing Director of W.Stirland, says, "We couldn't be more delighted to be working with the council on this project. As a family owned business, based locally in Birdham within the Chichester District, we are delighted to have been appointed to undertake the development at Freeland Close. Being part of the delivery of new short-stay accommodation for residents who really need it makes the project all the more important to us. We are starting some of the initial surveying and design works straightaway and we look forward to getting work started on site by the end of this year."

Cllr. Sutton adds: "Sadly we've seen an increase in the number of those coming to us who are homeless and our existing emergency accommodation has been operating at full capacity for the past year. As a result of the coronavirus crisis, the demand for temporary accommodation has been even greater, making this project even more important. We are committed to reducing homelessness in the district, and this is one of a number of initiatives we have introduced to tackle the issue.

"The council has dedicated outreach workers who provide much-needed support and guidance to help rough sleepers rebuild their lives. This year, we also secured more than £250,000 in Government funding towards supporting rough sleepers in our district. £230,000 of this was used to enhance local services, including: additional outreach staff, a dual diagnosis worker, and the extension of the opening hours of Stonepillow's day centre hub from five to seven days a week. A further £23,000 was received to help provide short-term accommodation for rough sleepers during the current pandemic.

"We're lucky to have such incredible homelessness charities in our area, particularly during the current crisis, and we work closely with them to support those who are rough sleeping."

The council will be updating people on the progress of the project as it develops on its website, in its residents' magazine Initiatives, and on its social media channels.

Date of release: 27 October 2020

Reference: 3930