More than 50 vulnerable people face homelessness after sudden eviction from Sussex hotel
More than 50 homeless people have been rehoused at short notice after being given a week's notice to vacate a Sussex hotel.
The Chatsworth Hotel in The Steyne, Worthing, had been housing up to 80 homeless people at one point during lockdown as part of an emergency accommodation deal.
But last week the owners were told their insurance no longer covered housing homeless people and all 54 remaining residents were told they must leave by Thursday (June 24).
A spokesman for homeless charity Turning Tides said all of the residents had been rehoused, with 16 being taken into the charity's own sheltered accommodation.
Taking so many residents into their projects was adding strain to services and staff already under significant pressure, the spokesman said.
"To have achieved this outcome, in such a short space of time, is entirely due to the extraordinary efforts of our own dedicated team, our colleagues at Worthing Borough Council, and the supportive approach taken by the Chatsworth owners and many of the wider community," said the spokesman.
"We are full of praise for all of them. Three important points remain. Firstly, many of the alternative housing arrangements found for the Chatsworth residents are temporary. These arrangements may not be available beyond the end of July.
"We welcome the Government’s announcement earlier this week that more funds will be released to support homeless men and women beyond the ‘Everyone In’ initiative. But we will watch closely to see how far that money stretches across the country and, in particular, if any of those funds enable meaningful changes in the lives of the local men and women we support.
"Secondly, our statement released earlier this week described how the ‘Everyone In’ policy marked a historic moment. When local authorities, charities and hotels pulled together to bring everyone indoors this amounted to an unprecedented coalition of the willing between the public, charity and commercial sectors. To discover that such vision, cooperation and compassion can be so rapidly upended by the decision of an insurer remains profoundly troubling. It is our understanding the insurers were made aware of the consequences of their decision.
"We look to our colleagues at a national level to ensure this doesn’t happen elsewhere and have consequently been in contact with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
"Finally - and most importantly - the fear and distress experienced by the Chatsworth residents this last week has been enormous. In many cases, this has happened to people whose lives were already affected by severe trauma. We remain in a pandemic and our collective efforts this week may well have saved lives. However, rebuilding lives is a different matter – and that process requires stability and commitment."
Donate to Turning Tides' emergency appeal here www.turning-tides.org.uk