A city resident says she no longer feels safe in her own home because of the growing number of homeless people.
“I felt compelled to write this having spent another weekend in the place I call home feeling intimidated and wary of the increasing number of homeless around the area,” the woman, who asked not to be named, said in an email to the Observer.
“Now the darker evenings have set in I reside myself to the fact that I am likely to feel increasingly more anxious entering and leaving my home in the area I expected to feel safest, South Pallant.”
Referring to an Observer story ‘Chichester burying its head over homeless problem’’, she wrote: “I couldn’t help but think the article was a little one sided.
“The food banks in the local supermarkets are always full so I disagree with the sentiment that people are burying their heads but would argue that the duty of care works both ways and the tax paying members of the public should also be helped to feel safe.
“I do not feel like it is a lot to ask that you should be able to feel secure in your own home. “Working until midnight some weeks means I often see the city after dark and this image is far from comforting.”
She said she recently returned home on night to find a man standing outside with a carrier bag who ran off, and who then tried to enter a neighbour’s home.
She said by the time police had arrived he had vanished.
“This is just one example of a few recent incidents in the area. Likewise walking down South Street at night I have to say is no longer the pleasant stroll it used to be, the walk is regularly interrupted by being heckled by those laying in doorways drinking alcohol, either asking for money or commenting on your appearance,” she said.
“I strongly feel the council and police force are ignoring the alarming situation our city is now facing regarding the homeless.
“It is a sad state of affairs when local people are forced to consider moving from what was once considered a pleasant and safe area to live due to no longer feeling comfortable in their home and the surrounding area.”
There are thought to be up to 20 people sleeping rough in the city centre each night.
“I agree this issue needs addressing and people need to stop burying their heads, but I see it from the side of the hardworking individuals who now feel uncomfortable walking in their local area at night. I can only hope this situation improves for everybody involved both the homeless and the local community,” she added.
As reported, some of the city’s churches offer a range of services to the homeless, volunteers the Four Streets Project and City Angels go out at night, while charity Stonepillow offers 86 beds in the area and a range of services for homeless people.