Chichester teacher’s bid to help homeless Bognor man ‘ridiculously’ hard

Rough sleepers in Brighton
Rough sleepers in Brighton

A teacher has spoken out about the difficulty in trying to find a homeless man somewhere to live.

Christina Procter, who lives in Chichester, says her attempts to house a man who is sleeping rough in parks around Bognor have been ‘ridiculously’ tough.

Being evicted from private rental is now the biggest cause of homelessness and massive welfare cuts are on the way

Being evicted from private rental is now the biggest cause of homelessness and massive welfare cuts are on the way

She says landlords have quoted her nearly £1,500 for a deposit on a rented room and most have been reluctant to house someone on benefits and in need.

“He gets DSS payments which would cover his rental so that’s not the problem but where is a homeless person supposed to find £1,500 for a deposit?” Christina said. “That is what I have been quoted for a one-bedroom studio in Bognor and it’s ridiculous.

“And even then it is extremely difficult to find a landlord who will take him on.

“He’s in his 50s and his health is very poor. He’s been sleeping in parks and now it’s getting colder I’m worried one day he just won’t wake up.”

Christina said the man was a friend of her mother’s who had been living with and caring for his own elderly mother in London.

When her health deteriorated she was placed into sheltered accommodation and the man was asked to leave their council flat.

“He spent some time sofa surfing in London with people he knew but that was only temporary,” said Christina, who teaches at Chichester High School. “Then he came down here and lived with my mum and then sister for a while but he’s a very proud person so now he’s sleeping on park benches.

“I naively thought it would be quite simple to get him a room but after so many calls I quickly realised that it’s not.”

Evidence suggests many others face a similar situation.

Eviction from private rented accommodation is now the main cause of homelessness, and with billions of pounds of welfare cuts on the way it’s set to get even tougher for low earners.

Christina said the man’s long-standing alcohol problem meant he hadn’t taken a place at a homeless shelter, and that the waiting list for council housing was long.

To try to raise money for a deposit, Christina has set up a Justgiving page. She is also holding a silent auction which includes top prizes like four tickets to see comedian Romesh Ranganathan.

She said: “I experienced homelessness when I was a child growing up in London, our family lived in B&Bs and hostels for a time. Luckily I managed to go to Uni, get a good job and now my family are comfortable. “But all of us are only one unfortunate event away from homelessness.”

To bid or donate a prize for the auction, visit: https://www.facebook.com/helphomelessfindahome/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

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