This is part of a key project to increase the amount of much-needed short stay accommodation for people facing homelessness in the district. Construction company, W.Stirland, have now started work on the site.

"We know that this project will make a real long-term difference to people," says Councillor Alan Sutton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Communications, Licensing and Events at Chichester District Council. "Once completed, the flats will complement the existing accommodation managed by our accommodation team.

"Over the past few months, our officers have been working hard to move this project forward. Sadly we continue to see a number of single people, couples and families coming to us who are homeless and our existing emergency accommodation has been operating at full capacity, 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.

"At the end of last year, we secured a £60,000 Government grant towards supporting rough sleepers in our district during the continuing pandemic. Of this funding, £32,000 will be used towards meeting the on-going costs of providing temporary accommodation to keep rough sleepers in accommodation during the pandemic, and £28,000 will go to local homeless charity, Stonepillow, to extend their Housing First team. This is a project that provides support to the most vulnerable rough sleepers, by enabling them to set up a new home for life and access the wider services that they need. We have also successfully applied for a larger grant amounting to £400,000, which has gone to Stonepillow to expand their accommodation.

"Preventing homelessness and rough sleeping is a priority for our council and we are pleased that our bids to the Next Steps Accommodation were successful. Last year, the council launched a campaign alongside the homeless charities The Four Streets Project, HEART and Stonepillow, to encourage residents to 'make their change count' and help bring about lasting change to the lives of rough sleepers. We know that people in the district are extremely generous and want to help rough sleepers but when money is given directly, this actually helps to keep people on the streets and prevents them from accessing the long-term, specialist support that they need. By giving to our excellent local charities, people can help them to provide sustained support. To find out more about this campaign, please visit: Make your change count.

"The number of rough sleepers in our district is now lower than it has been for many years. A number of those who we have accommodated have been doing really well, and quite simply, their lives have been transformed. We are continuing to do all we can and we are working with other local agencies and partners to ensure that no-one has to sleep rough in our district."

Find out more about the redevelopment of the council's existing temporary accommodation at: Project to increase our short-stay accommodation.

Date of release: 1 February 2021

Reference: 3974