How we help rough sleepers in the city

People sleeping rough are a constantly changing population and the city’s street services work with more than 1,200 cases each year, 30 new cases every week. People sleeping rough die younger, are more likely to get ill and are more vulnerable to violence than those in the wider population.

To help them it is critical that we work together with other organisations.

Severe Weather Emergency Protocols (SWEP) shelter

We open a severe weather shelter in extreme weather conditions, acting on information from the Met Office warning when the conditions are due to be harsh. When SWEP is opened, spaces are available for all rough sleepers in the city and extra venues are made available if demand requires. 

A common sense approach is taken to activating the SWEP shelter throughout the year to respond to the impact of severe rain, snow and wind chill. A key trigger for the SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocols) shelter opening is when the Met Office forecasts that two consecutive nights will be 0 degree Celsius or below. Another trigger is an amber weather warning from the Met Office. In both these cases, the SWEP shelter is opened on the first night of the forecast.  

The severe weather shelter is run by Brighton Housing Trust (BHT). BHT work with our street outreach service run by St Mungo's. When the shelter opens, St Mungo’s help BHT co-ordinate shelter places and work with other local organisations to tell rough sleepers where to go.

The service is run by staff, including managers, from day services. Due to the complex needs of some clients we only use experienced staff. When the shelter opens, staff work very long hours to care for those in need and this is not sustainable long term.

We are always as flexible as possible, and adapt to the needs of rough sleepers. We work hard to make sure vulnerable people on are streets are cared for, not just in extreme weather, but throughout the year.

We will let you know when the shelter is opened on our winter weather page

Our rough sleeping priorities

Our rough sleeping strategy aims to help people who are already sleeping rough, as well as people at risk of homelessness including those who are sofa surfing and living in vans, tents and squats. It also covers people who are in hostels after sleeping rough.

The strategy has five key priorities:

  • Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping
  • Rapid Assessment and Reconnection
  • Improving Health
  • A Safe City
  • Pathways to Independence

We've already started working on:

  • a new shared agreement and Multi-Agency Protocol, between the council, service providers, and other groups supporting people sleeping rough
  • a new permanent Assessment Centre so service providers can assess the needs of people sleeping rough in a stable environment
  • making sure each person having their own Multi-Agency Plan that says who is responsible for co-ordinating their care, which services are working with them and the support available. This includes outlining future housing options.
  • a primary care led hub with a multidisciplinary team delivering services in a number of settings in the city, supporting access to primary and community healthcare services and reaching out to street settings, day centres and hospitals
  • building new accommodation for older homeless people with complex needs

Our partners

The following organisations have joined us in working towards making this strategy work. We are working with them and many other organisations to support people in the city. 31 organisations, partners and groups are listed in the rough sleeping strategy.

Helping us help rough sleepers

Find out how you can help rough sleepers