Outreach worker for homeless on agenda

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A rough sleeper outreach worker could be approved to help homeless people in Chichester district in the new year after a commitment from Arun to fund a similar role.

The current homeless outreach worker for Arun and Chichester is to leave at the end of December, five months into a £40,000 year-long contract, originally funded by a government grant.

Arun District Council has committed to funding the role for another 12 months for Arun district but officers at Chichester’s council have recommended a second full-time worker is now needed to help the 18 individuals known to be sleeping rough in the Chichester area.

The details come as part of a report to be presented to Chichester District Council cabinet when councillors next meet on January 9.

In the report, officers said that while the overall number of rough sleepers has not increased, ‘the visibility of rough sleeping, particularly in the city centre, has increased over the past five years’.

It continued: “Reported incidences of violence against and perpetrated by rough sleepers has also increased.”

It said a consistent role would help ‘build trust and relationships with individuals’ and improve on a ‘fragmented’ service over the last five years.

The outreach worker would instead ‘act as a focal point for bringing agencies together’, enabling ‘tailored’ service on a case-by-case basis.

Referralls would be made through the council’s ‘rough sleeper panel’. The outreach worker would spend time with individuals to work out their needs and offer support to help them into settled accommodation.

Included in the role will be helping individuals gain access for treatment for both physical and mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependency and initiatives to prevent intentional homelessness.

The role in the housing interventions team would be funded through the base budget. Cabinet can agree to the role on January 9 as a key decision without full council approval.