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.
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 prolonged cold or extreme weather, this page will be updated daily to say if the shelter will be open or closed. SWEP is ready to open at any time of the year when extreme weather poses a threat to people who are rough sleeping, not only during the winter months, for example during extremely hot weather or violent summer storms.
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.
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 shelter is based at St Patrick's, off Western Road, Hove. 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 07598 346109 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.
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. 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).
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 was open from early November 2018 to early April 2019 this winter.
The Churches’ Night Shelter is an independent shelter run at various locations by volunteers. It has space for 15 beds when open. The council allocated funding from a successful bid for a government grant to support the shelter. The number of dates the shelter was opened increased as a result and it ran for five months this winter.
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