How we help rough sleepers in the city
We care about all our residents, including vulnerable people who are rough sleeping.
People sleeping rough are a constantly changing population and the city’s street services work with about 10 new cases every week. We have many services and support in place to help people away from the streets, but sadly more people end up in need each 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 people who are rough sleeping it is critical that we work together with other organisations. We have a citywide network helping people in need.
COVID-19: Service update Thursday 26 March
We are providing accommodation for rough sleepers in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic, working with our Street Outreach Service and community partners. It is taking time to find enough accommodation for all in need. We are prioritising people based on the most urgent situations first and then reaching wider.
How you can help
If you meet someone who is rough sleeping and in need of accommodation, please share the details with Street Link so the information can be passed on to outreach workers.
Please do NOT direct people to come to the council’s customer Service Centre.
If you meet someone rough sleeping who is symptomatic and in need of immediate accommodation we need to know right away. Please call 01273 294 400 (during office hours) and ask to be put through to the duty manager. Or call 01273 294 400 or 01273 295 555 (out of hours) with a request to speak with the duty Homeless Persons Officer.
This service has been changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, see above
We open a severe weather shelter in extreme weather conditions. The shelter can be opened if needed at any time of the year to respond to the impact of severe rain, snow, storms, heat and wind chill.
The shelter is also known as SWEP (which stands for Severe Weather Emergency Protocols). On nights that the shelter is open, outreach workers will be out in the city telling people where to go to find SWEP. At present, the SWEP opens at Brighton Town Hall but the venue can change, updates will be clear about when and where the SWEP location will be when the trigger is met.
It provides shelter for all rough sleepers in the city and venues are made available to meet demand, there is no referral needed.
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.
An all year round night shelter has opened at St Patrick's Church, Hove. This follows the success of two winter night shelters for rough sleepers in the Syndicate Wing at the Brighton Centre during the last two winters. The shelter had bed spaces for 15 people and provided a hot evening meal. Places are allocated by referral from the council’s outreach service, St Mungo’s.
The council funds a specialist team to go out on the streets to help people directly all year round. The street outreach teams work with all rough sleepers to offer support, guide them to services and help find a place to stay away from the streets. This service is provided by St Mungo's and links in with agencies across the city to provide joined up personal support.
Supported accommodation is for people who need help to look after their wellbeing and keep their home. The aim is to support people to independent confident living. There are about 500 places in the city for adults needing supported accommodation and about 150 places for young people from the age of 16 years. An additional 29 places are opening soon at accommodation being developed at St Patrick's Church, Hove. More supported accommodation is being planned and due to open soon in 2020. Places are available by referral from a range of sources including the council's housing options, rough sleeper outreach and social care.
Rough sleeping hub
The rough sleeping hub, also known as No Second Night Out, 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.
Somewhere safe to stay
There is also a hub for people who are at high risk of rough sleeping and have nowhere else go. This service has 22 places and is available by referral from the council's housing option s team.
A range of additional help
The council commissions a range of supportive outreach services, including:
- Specialist outreach for those with drug and alcohol addiction
- An outreach mental health homeless team
- Youth Advice Centre (YAC) working to prevent homelessness for young people at risk
- ‘Housing First’ intensive support packages for people multiple complex needs and a history of rough sleeping
We also partner with a network of charity and community projects providing additional support
We work closely with organisations providing day centres which offer activities, food, facilities and medical services. These include First Base, St Anne’s, Antifreeze and The Clock Tower Sanctuary.
Every two months, a street count is carried out in the city to capture a "single night snapshot" of the number of people who are sleeping rough in the local area. The street count is always carried out at night to make sure those included are sleeping out. The counts are used to increase understanding of the situation in the city and to help direct support where it's most needed.
The most recent local street count was the annual count that takes place in November each year. The November count was part of the national count that happens across the country each winter, with details being sent to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The count information is checked by an independent verifier and the details are released in the New Year.
The regular counts are separate to the official annual count that is required by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government each autumn. The gap between September 2018 and January 2019 in the above table is filled by the information from the annual count held which was carried out during a night in November 2018. The annual count was verified as recording 64 people who were rough sleeping.
Tents in the city
Information about tents in the city is gathered by commissioned services and partner agencies across Brighton & Hove every day.
A weekly review meeting is held to look at:
- Where people are staying in tents or makeshift shelters
- What help has been offered
- What action needs to be taken
The meeting is attended by officers from teams across the council and representatives from partner agencies, including Sussex Police, Equinox and St Mungo’s.
Our rough sleeping priorities
We aim 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. This also includes people who are in hostels after sleeping rough.
We have five key priorities:
- Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping
- Rapid Assessment and Reconnection
- Improving Health
- A Safe City
- Pathways to Independence
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.
- Brighton Housing Trust
- YMCA Downslink
- Sussex Police
- St Mungo's
- Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
- Brighton & Hove Connected
Helping us help rough sleepers
Find out how you can help rough sleepers