Chichester district set to welcome more asylum seekers

Chichester District Council has been told that it has to take in 97 asylum seekers by December.
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With 21 already calling the district home, beds need to be found for another 76.

The information was shared by Tracie Bangert, cabinet member for communities & wellbeing, during a meeting of the cabinet.

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She told the meeting that, under the government’s asylum seeker dispersal scheme, all local authorities now have to take in a fair proportion of people seeking help.

East Pallant House, Chichester. (Steve Robards/Sussex World)East Pallant House, Chichester. (Steve Robards/Sussex World)
East Pallant House, Chichester. (Steve Robards/Sussex World)

By 2029, Chichester will be home to 182.

She added that the figures were allocated based on population numbers and did not take into account the local infrastructure or housing market.

To try to mitigate the impact on local services, the government pays the council £3,500 per new bed space, with an annual sum of £750 per person each April.

This funding relates to asylum seekers only and not refugees from places such as Syria and Ukraine, who come to the UK via resettlement schemes which have their own funding streams.

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Chichester has £44,000 in the kitty, which the council plans to share with the various voluntary organisations who have helped to provide support and shelter to asylum seekers and refugees alike.

Mrs Bangert said: “Voluntary organisations are already working with refugees and asylum seekers in the district and the dispersal scheme will see numbers increase which will have a significant impact on demand for their services.

“Support for asylum seekers housed in the district as part of this scheme is provided by a government contractor – but we have seen additional support from the local voluntary sector has been necessary and will continue to be needed.”