Brighton & Hove City Council has joined with partners from across the city to pledge commitment to the Rough Sleeping Strategy 2016.
Councillor Clare Moonan, Lead Member for Rough Sleeping, explained the importance of the occasion, Cllr Moonan said: “The street is a very vulnerable place to be and the average age of death for a person rough sleeping is just 47 years old. We know we need to work together to help people living rough in the city to improve their circumstances. We already have a good foundation of professional organisations linking up to provide vital support. This strategy builds on the positive work underway with ongoing commitment to do all we can to help people living rough in our city. This is about saving lives.”
Representatives from various local professional organisations gathered at Brighton Housing Trust’s First Base Day Centre in Brighton on Tuesday (19/7) to show unity and pledge support for the new strategy. Speakers spoke of the need to work together because no one group can resolve the issues and shared a determination to make a positive difference despite major challenges.
The strategy has been produced in consultation with organisations, residents, businesses and service users across Brighton & Hove. The draft strategy was granted full approval on 11 July after being considered by the relevant council committees. The document lays out aims and practical action which will improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the city.
The following have pledged to support the Rough Sleeping Strategy: Brighton Housing Trust, St Mungo’s, Sussex Police, Equinox, Pavilions, Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, YMCA Downslink, Brighton & Hove Connected, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner and Brighton & Hove City Council.
Support is also being sought from residents and visitors. The best way to provide practical help for people sleeping rough is by donating to registered local charities, rather than individuals, to ensure the funds are used to help people off the streets. Other ways to provide support include volunteering locally and helping outreach workers find those in needs by sharing information using the Streetlink service. More details about how to help people living rough on the street is available on the council website.
Back row (left to right) Jesse Wilde, Equinox; John Child, Brighton & Hove CCG; Chas Walker, YMCA Downslink; Andy Winter, BHT; David Devoy, St Mungo's; Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, Sussex Police; Katy Bourne, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Front row (left to right) Cllr Clare Moonan, Lead Member for Rough Sleeping; Geoff Raw, BHCC Chief Executive
Photo credit: www.snapitnow.co.uk
Rough Sleeping in Brighton & Hove
People sleeping rough are a transient population. In 2014/15 services worked with 1,129 people involving 775 different people (around a third of cases relate to people seen more than once). In November 2015 a snapshot of a single night estimated there were 78 people sleeping rough in Brighton & Hove.
Rough sleeping is often driven out of desperation, poverty and ill health. The average age of death for a homeless person nationally is estimated to be 47 years old compared to 77 for the general population.
The strategy features five key priorities which build and develop on existing services in Brighton & Hove.
The priorities are:
- Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping – to provide a consistent message about housing options that helps services prevent homelessness and moves people away from sleeping rough
- Rapid Assessment and Reconnection – outreach to assess the needs of people sleeping rough to plan support, and where appropriate, reconnect people with friends, families and support networks, before they are fully immersed in street life
- Improving Health – to ensure people sleeping rough are supported by health and social care services that help them to regain their independence
- A Safe City – making sure people sleeping rough, residents and visitors are safe and free from intimidation
- Pathways to Independence – to support people sleeping rough into regaining their independence