How homeless people in Chichester are being supported during lockdown

Charities are working closely with the district council in Chichester to support homeless people amid the second national lockdown.

Gillian Keegan MP helping the Stonepillow team provide lunches during lockdown
Gillian Keegan MP helping the Stonepillow team provide lunches during lockdown

Hilary Bartle, the chief executive officer of the homeless charity Stonepillow, said: “Everyone we know about who needs accommodation and wants accommodation will be offered accommodation.”

When the first lockdown was introduced in March, homeless people were provided with emergency accommodation in hotels as a result of the Government’s Everyone In policy.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Chichester District Council said that, since the spring lockdown, around 30 rough sleepers had been housed.

Some have been permanently re-housed while others remain in hostels or temporary accommodation.

A spokesman said: “A small number left or lost the accommodation they were provided with and in some cases have returned to rough sleeping.

“There are also a small number of people who will not take up any support despite our best efforts.”

Ms Bartle said Stonepillow would continue to work with these people and offer them somewhere to stay.

Hotels and private landlords in the area are continuing to provide rooms for people in need, she said.

During the lockdown, Stonepillow’s service hubs remain open and food will continue to be offered three times a day – with breakfasts provided by Heart, lunches by Stonepillow and an evening meal by Four Streets – ‘so no one who is homeless needs to go hungry’, Ms Bartle said.

Meanwhile, Winter Bed Provision funding has just been announced by the Government, which Stonepillow will work with the council to provide, so that no one has to sleep on the streets during winter.

The charity has recently received Government funding to provide more accommodation, including six extra rooms at its St Joseph’s Hostel, while the district council is providing £100,000 which will also go towards developing a temporary accommodation project.

News of the Government funding, which amounts to £501,608, was welcomed by the MP Gillian Keegan.

She said: “There are not many things to be thankful for as a result of the global pandemic, but one silver lining is that we’ve been able to find, shelter, and support our most vulnerable people.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, the whole community came together to provide food and shelter for homeless people.

“Countless pubs, restaurants, food retailers and local businesses donated food, much of which was made into hot meals by volunteers from Stonepillow, Chichester District Council and the community.

“This lasted throughout lockdown and since then the government has been working with our local councils to put a permanent solution in place.

“This funding announcement will support those currently in temporary accommodation via the ‘Everyone In’ campaign to soon be able to access long-term, secure housing, which will be a huge step towards getting life back on track.”

To donate to Stonepillow, visit

The charity is also in need of fresh fruit and vegetables so that it can provide wholesome lunches to homeless people. This can be dropped off at its day service in St Cyriacs.