Woman has ‘slept in car’ for three weeks after houseboat removal

The houseboat being removed from Chichester Marina. Social services are now trying to help her
The houseboat being removed from Chichester Marina. Social services are now trying to help her

The vulnerable woman who had her houseboat removed from Chichester Marina has reportedly been sleeping rough in her car for the last three weeks.

People with concerns for her wellbeing have told the Observer that she has been homeless since her houseboat Waipawa was craned out of the canal on July 9.

The 65-year-old is believed to have lived at the marina for more than 30 years and is said to be suffering from long-term mental health problems.

Social services are now involved and say they ‘hope to assist’ her with housing.

But people who know her have voiced their anger that she has been without help until now.

One woman, who asked not to be named but said she had known the 65-year-old for nine years, said: “She’s been moving around a lot and sleeping in her car, she’s extremely frightened.

“Along with a friend we’ve been firing calls in all sorts of directions trying to get her some help.

“I’ve heard there has been some improvement in her situation, that social services and the housing team have now got involved.

“The last I knew she was sleeping in a field so whether that has been resolved I don’t know, it seems it’s still up in the air.”

And she added: “A lot of people like me are truly appalled by what’s happened and the fact that nobody has done anything until now.”

Premier Marinas said at the time that it had ‘carried out the legal and safe removal of the houseboat and its tenant from the site following years of close liaison with police and social services’.

Details of what has happened to her houseboat have not been released.

It is hoped the woman will now be found a place to live.

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “We are working with other agencies to offer an assessment and support to the woman and we hope this will assist her with accessing alternative housing.”


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