8 December 2015

Working together to tackle rough sleeping

The first ever Rough Sleeping summit was held in Brighton on Friday (4 December) to link partners across the city and look at how best to work together on the issue of rough sleeping.

More than 1,000 people sleep rough annually in Brighton & Hove, of these more than 300 have been seen before while new people need support every week.

Cllr Clare Moonan, lead councillor for homelessness, said: “Our vision is to make sure no-one has the need to sleep rough in Brighton & Hove by 2020. This is a challenge we need to start tackling now. The aim is to build on existing provision and work with our partners to see an effective city-wide approach for the future. The dangers of living on the streets are severe and impact on some of the most vulnerable in our society. At a time when resources are scarce and demand is rising, we need to look at how we can work together to help those in need.”

The summit was organised by Brighton & Hove City Council to bring together representatives from across the statutory and third sector. A wide range of organisations and individuals were present, including people with experience of sleeping on the streets, St Mungo’s Broadway, Brighton Housing Trust and One Church Brighton. Participants discussed the challenges and looked at what measures will make a difference in the city for those on the street as well as residents and visitors concerned about rough sleepers.

A consultation has also been established to seek input from a wide range of people to review the city’s approach to rough sleeping. Information about the current approach is available online alongside the survey at: http://consult.brighton-hove.gov.uk/portal

The consultation highlights the challenges to be faced if the city does not reduce rough sleeping. The known impact of rough sleeping includes health problems and early deaths; suffering and hardship; pressure on the Police, hospital accident and  emergency and other services; crime and anti-social behaviour associated with rough sleeping and street drinking.

The summit endorsed a winter campaign to raise awareness of how residents can help rough sleepers. The campaign provides two actions people can take straight away.  More information is available here: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/how-to-help-people-living-rough

Firstly, people are encouraged to use a simple online method to sharing information about the location of rough sleepers so details can be given to outreach workers for action. Streetlink is a government funded service providing a link between concerned individuals and specialist care: www.streetlink.org.uk

Secondly, donations can be made online to St Mungo’s Broadway, the charity which provides outreach care in Brighton & Hove for Rough Sleepers. Donations can be made through a fundraising page to ensure the money raised is dedicated for the city: http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/mungosbroadway/helpmakechangecount

Cllr Clare Moonan explains: “We know residents want to help and, particularly at this time of year as the temperatures drop, it’s a real worry to see people rough sleeping. The winter campaign is a way to make a difference right away as we work together on providing a long term solution. I encourage everyone to help rough sleepers by using the Streetlink website or app. The fundraising aspect of the campaign is designed to provide appropriate care for the most vulnerable living rough by channelling donations where they can make a real difference. Small amounts of donations add up and are more effective than giving hand outs on the street.”

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