Housing and homelessness support

We are doing everything we can to help rough sleepers during the current crisis. We are especially conscious that rough sleepers face particular health risks. We have identified short term accommodation options for all of the known rough sleepers in Chichester, as well as ensured they have the support they need. A very small number of people may refuse this, and in these cases we will provide advice and guidance around the need for self-isolation and signpost to the support that is available.

We will continue to support rough sleepers once they are in accommodation by ensuring that they have a phone and are in regular contact with one of our Outreach Workers. Support will also be available through Stonepillow day centres in Chichester and  Bognor. These centres offer access to food and other services. It is worth noting that in order to meet social distancing guidance, the centres are limited to a certain number of people at any one time.

Every day, our dedicated Outreach Workers engage with all rough sleepers, helping them to access accommodation and the services that they need. We work closely with agencies, partners, and local charities to help support rough sleepers.

If you are worried about anyone who may be sleeping rough please contact  Streetlink . This referral will go directly to our Outreach Worker, who will attempt to find the individual and assess their needs.

For further information, please visit our Housing and homelessness support - Coronavirus FAQs page.
 

Community Hub

We are working very closely with West Sussex County Council, which has developed a Community Hub to support the most vulnerable residents in our communities. You can contact the Community Hub if you, or someone you know, need help, or if you want to volunteer your services in these difficult times. This will be available seven days a week and staff will be on hand to respond to enquiries from 8am-8pm. The team will be contacting the most vulnerable to tell them how to get help.

The best way to contact the hub is online. If you have access, go to:  COVID-19 Community Hub - West Sussex County Council . A dedicated telephone helpline is also available for residents who are unable to go online: 033 022 27980.

We are trying to keep the resources available through the hub for those who are most vulnerable, so if you do have support in place already, such as from family or friends, then please continue to use their support. This means that we can focus our efforts on those most in need.

The South Downs National Park Authority have published a map which identifies food suppliers and community groups in their area. The aim of this is to connect communities to local suppliers and support during the coronavirus outbreak. You can view the map here: Connecting communities with local suppliers - South Downs National Park Authority

Staying safe when accepting help from volunteers

Here is soome advice if you will be receiving help from volunteers:

• If you are receiving voluntary help do not share financial details like credit/debit card numbers or personal information.

• If someone you don't know calls at your home, always ask for ID and always ensure you are comfortable sharing details like your phone number or address.

• Only provide information on a need to know basis and if you have seen ID. Do not feel pressured into providing information.

• If you have doubts about those who are approaching you, and are concerned, it is advised that you don't engage, and report serious suspicious behaviour to the police.

You may also find some more useful information in our new Community Guide, which includes key information, contacts, and guidance all in one place. You can find out more about this at www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour

Domestic abuse support

The Government has issued advice for people facing domestic abuse, with details on how to access help: Domestic Abuse: how to get help  The Government has said that the coronavirus household isolation instruction does not apply to anyone who needs to leave their home to escape domestic abuse. 

The Rail Delivery Group has also announced that those fleeing domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown can apply for free train travel to refuge accommodation. Tickets can be accessed through Women's Aid Federation of England, Welsh Women's Aid, Scottish Women's Aid and Imkaan.

Domestic abuse code word scheme - The Home Office has launched a new 'Abuse Codeword Scheme', which provides a simple and discreet way for people experiencing domestic abuse to signal that they need immediate help from the police or other support services. You can find out more about this on the Government's website.  The Ask for ANI scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support by using a code word in their local pharmacy.

For more advice and support, please visit our community safety and crime web page.
 

Shielding

The Government's shielding programme will not be active during the second national lockdown. Instead, those who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus will be contacted by the Government with detailed advice to follow while the new restrictions are in place. You can find out more details on the  Government's website .
 

Support for the isolated

If you are living alone and feeling isolated, please also remember that our Chichester Wellbeing and Social Prescribing services are also available to help. They can be reached online or by calling 01243 521041.

I'm concerned about a vulnerable child or adult

If you're concerned about a vulnerable adult who may be being abused neglected or exploited, please report this to Adult Social Care .

You can also call 999 if it's an emergency.

The Government also wants to ensure that the public and professionals are aware of the following child sexual abuse resources and helplines. Support is available through the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and includes:

  • Stop It Now! (0808 1000 900) -- a confidential helpline for anyone who needs advice on child sexual abuse risk, whether they are concerned about the behaviour of an adult or someone under-18. They also have a secure messaging service at https://contactus.stopitnow.org.uk/, and further information and advice on their website: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/

 

  • The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command Centre (CEOP) have launched an #OnlineSafetyAtHome campaign to promote their resources on preventing all forms of online child sexual abuse. You can find resources for all age groups and for those concerned about sexting at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

 

Chichester Foodbank vouchers

At the moment we are no longer able to issue vouchers for clients who need to visit the Chichester Foodbank. Instead, our staff are emailing details of people who need help to the foodbank and then advising clients to make an appointment with them directly.

Supermarket shopping times for the elderly

Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester (VAAC) have details on their Facebook page about dedicated shopping times for the different supermarkets.

Mental health

There is a range of information from Chichester Community Network  including resources and links and our Chichester Wellbeing  service is also able to help. Our Wellbeing advisors are able to offer phone consultations.

Coronavirus related scams

Members of the public are being advised to be vigilant of coronavirus related scams. These might take the form of pensions transfers, high-return investment opportunities or health insurance supplements.

Amongst other precautions, the public should:

  • not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details)
  • beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online
  • be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true
  • get the company's name and establish their credentials using the Financial Conduct Authority's Financial Services Register

Further advice is available here: www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart

The FCA's Financial Services Register can be found here: www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register

If a member of the public suspects that they may have been contacted in what could be a scam, they can call Action Fraud straight away on 0300 123 2040 or make a complaint to the insolvency service here: www.gov.uk/guidance/make-a-complaint-to-the-insolvency-service

Vulnerable people who meet specific financial criteria are able to access emergency fuel vouchers, funded by Your Energy Sussex and delivered by Citizens Advice across West Sussex. These are available to people who currently use pre-payment metres.

To be eligible a person needs to be facing financial crisis and therefore either:

  • On a means-tested benefit or awaiting a benefit decision, or;

  • Limited income and no recourse to public funds, or;

  • Has no other way of obtaining funds, e.g. funds needed to pay rent arrears to avoid homelessness.

And must be vulnerable for one of the following reasons:

  • Has a disability, or;

  • Is a carer to a child* or disabled person, or;

  • Is of pension age and frail, or;

  • Has *recently been housed following homelessness, or;

  • Recently released from an institution such as prison or hospital, or;

  • At risk of becoming homeless, or;

  • Is fleeing domestic abuse; or

  • Is shielding or self-isolating as defined by Government.

For further advice and to access the scheme, please contact your local Citizens Advice