Allegations against the council of "anti homeless" benches
The benches highlighted in the petition being shared online were not installed by the council and are not on council owned land.
Council benches in the city
No council benches are installed with an “anti-homeless” intent as alleged recently on social media. The council has made tackling rough sleeping and protecting the vulnerable a priority (more information below).
A range of bench types are installed by the council across the city council to meet the different needs of residents and visitors.
Some benches are designed to aid people with mobility issues.
The City Parks team is looking at best practice for benches as part of the Open Spaces Strategy and will take into consideration the needs of people with mobility issues such as bench height, upright backs and armrests (at present only about 10% of benches have armrests in Brighton & Hove). This work will include input from disability specialists and comparisons with other local authorities.
Help for rough sleepers
The council, partner organisations and charities in the city provide a range of support for rough sleepers in a supportive and inclusive way. Tackling rough sleeping is a council priority.
There is a caring approach with an understanding residents are rightly concerned about this issue.
There is a national housing crisis and this is reflected locally. The council’s street outreach service offers help to all on our streets in the city. The service, run by St Mungo’s for the council, helps people access services needed to move on and rebuild your life away from the street. The service responds to referrals from people sleeping rough, members of the public and local businesses.
Sleeping rough is dangerous for people, the average life expectancy for a man living rough is only 47 years old. Supporting people away from a life on the streets is our key priority.