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.

Cold weather shelter

Service update: Tuesday 19 March

The shelter will not be opening this evening because the trigger has not been met (see below for details of when SWEP will open).

Outreach workers are out in the city helping rough sleepers in need of advice and support during cold weather.

We open a severe weather shelter in extreme weather conditions. The shelter is also known as SWEP (which stands for Severe Weather Emergency Protocols). It provides shelter for all rough sleepers in the city and venues are made available to meet demand. The main base is at Wagner Hall, West Street. The shelter provides an evening meal, a place to stay and bedding.  

The trigger for opening the shelter is when a “feels like 0 degrees” temperature is forecast by the Met Office and also takes into account windchill. The trigger for opening SWEP in Brighton & Hove is one of the lowest in the country.

The SWEP team can be reached on 07895 407168 from 7pm on the nights when the shelter is open. The SWEP team will be able to provide reassurance places are available if people are in doubt about whether they can go in. You can also share a location and description of someone you’re concerned about. Outreach workers will be able to check if help has already been offered. If you reach the voicemail please leave information about who needs helping. You might not receive a reply if the service is very busy but the phone with be checked regularly for messages. Please note, this is not an emergency line and if you’re concerned for someone’s safety or health call the emergency services.  

The shelter can also open throughout the year to respond to the impact of severe rain, snow and wind chill. The shelter opens when the Met Office issues an amber weather warning and shelter is needed from the elements. This can happen when the temperatures are above freezing.

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

Find out more about how the shelter is run when it is open

Winter night shelter

A night shelter for rough sleepers is running during the winter months, based in the Syndicate Wing at the Brighton Centre. Following evaluation of the 2017/18 shelter experience, the shelter will continue to have space for 30 people and places will be allocated by referral from the council’s outreach service, St Mungo’s.

The shelter opened on 24 November 2018 and will run until March 2019.

Rough sleeping hub

The rough sleeping hub provides a safe place for up to 17 rough sleepers. People staying at the hub will have their needs assessed to develop plans to move them away from the streets. The aim is to act swiftly as a short term intervention when people start rough sleeping and to find out how best to help.

The hub is not a drop in centre. Places at the hub are allocated by referral from the council’s outreach service, St Mungo’s, and the hub is managed by Brighton Housing Trust. The hub is funded for nine months to give time to check the outcomes and decide on next steps.

Funding for the hub has been provided directly from Brighton & Hove City Council and also a successful bid by the council for a grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Expanded rough sleeper street outreach team

We have significantly increased the capacity of the street outreach team (run by St Mungo’s). The team is able to connect with people who are rough sleeping sooner than before and work more intensively to help them with their housing plans as a result.

Support for the Churches’ Night Shelter

The Churches’ Night Shelter is an independent shelter run at various locations by volunteers. It has space for 15 beds when open. The council has allocated funding from a successful bid for a government grant to support the shelter. The number of dates the shelter can be opened will be increased as a result and it is due to run for five months this winter.

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

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