Residents in Bognor Regis have voiced their concerns at the rising number of people sleeping rough in the town. Although a definitive figure for those who are homeless is, by definition, hard to come by, the general consensus amongst the townsfolk is that more and more people are sleeping on the streets.
This assertion can be backed up if you were to take a stroll along Bognor Regis prom on any given morning where you will find the beach shelters are occupied by rough sleepers, even though one side of the buildings are open to the elements.
Facebook pages dedicated to matters in the town and other social media commentary provides evidence of the increase in numbers of homeless — a trend that is repeated throughout the land for one reason or another.
In an attempt to help those who are sleeping tough, Arun District Council has recently opened a winter shelter, which can accommodate up to 16 people, which is being operated from the Glenlogie Hub in the town’s Clarence Road.
Concerned resident John Henry, a retired factory worker who has lived in the town for 55 years, says he has seen for himself the conditions that with which the homeless have to put, including some who spend nights in tents at the town’s West Park.
He said: “Of course, you see the ladies and gents who are sleeping rough in the town centre and they are helped by kind folk who give them money and food but there are others who seem more desperate.”
“On morning walks along the beach, I often see sleepers huddled together to try to stay warm in beach shelters along the promenade. Also, more often than not if you venture to certain wooded areas of West Park you can find a tent or two with some unfortunate souls in it trying to stay warm. It’s a sad, sad reflection of modern society.”
Stonepillow is the local charity that provides services for homeless and vulnerable people “towards inclusion and wellbeing” and they are behind the aforementioned Bognor Hub.
A spokesman explains: “Snacks, a light lunch, and hot drinks are provided. Project workers are available to offer advice and support to people wishing to make positive changes to their lives. The Hub also provides emergency support such as clothing, washing and shower facilities for those that are street homeless in the Arun District.”
“The Hub also provides crisis accommodation for new rough sleepers and acts as the Arun District’s Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP), when night-time temperatures are predicted to drop to below zero degrees for three consecutive nights. If you need support when the Hub is closed, please contact Bognor Hostel on 01243 214058.”