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, 15 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.

Service update: 

This page will be updated with an announcement as soon as SWEP is activated. You can check here to see if SWEP is due to be open this evening. 

During periods of extreme weather, this page will be update daily to say if the shelter will be open or closed. The shelter can be opened if needed at any time of the year. 

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.

Severe weather shelter

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 trigger for opening SWEP in Brighton & Hove is one of the lowest in the country.

The trigger for opening the shelter is when the Met Office forecasts a heatwave or temperatures that “feels like 0 degrees” (windchill is taken into account). 

The shelter opens when the Met Office issues an amber weather warning and shelter is needed from the elements.

The shelter can also open at any point in the year to respond to the impact of severe rain, snow, storms, heat and wind chill.  

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 and all year round night shelter

For the second year running, a night shelter for rough sleepers was opened in the Syndicate Wing at the Brighton Centre during the winter months of 2018/2019. The shelter had bed spaces for 30 people and provided a hot evening meal. It ran from November 2018 to March 2019. Places were allocated by referral from the council’s outreach service, St Mungo’s.

In the council budget for 2019/20, funds have been approved for an all year round night shelter providing similar spaces to the winter shelter. Work is underway to find a venue to house the new service which needs a base that can be accessed at night 365 days of the year.

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).

A range of additional help

We provide 700 supported accommodation beds (for people who need help to live independently) in the city.
The council commissions a range of supportive outreach services, including:

  • Street outreach for all rough sleepers 
  • Specialist outreach for those with drug and alcohol addiction
  • An outreach mental health homeless team
  • ‘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 and The Clock Tower Sanctuary.

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.

Latest street count information

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 being 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. 

Recent counts 

September 2019 78
July 2019 43
May 2019 53
March 2019 66
January 2019 30
September 2018 78
August 2018 107
May 2018 91
March 2018 54

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. 

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

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