More help needed for rough sleepers

Top facts:

  • New report reveals national rough sleeping situation
  • Brighton & Hove figures included
  • Help is available locally for those in need but services are stretched

Government figures

The national announcement of rough sleeping figures from across the country shows there is still a staggering number of vulnerable people in need of help to move away from the streets.

In the report released today (Thursday 31 January) by the Ministry of Housing Community and Local Government (MHCLG), Brighton & Hove remains in the 10 areas experiencing the highest numbers of people rough sleeping.

New services and shelters have improved the situation locally in the last twelve months but the number of people continuing to flow onto the street remains high.

Annual count

The MHCLG statistics are based on the annual counts which take place nationally on one night in November. Our local count took place on Wednesday 21 November and details were shared in December.

The city was split into 13 patches. Teams of outreach workers and volunteers worked together to make a record of people bedded down in the city after midnight and through the early hours on the count night.

64 people were found sleeping rough. The count was verified by independent observers from the organisation Homeless Link.

The figure for 2018 cannot be directly compared with the previous year because the method was changed following discussions with the ministry about how other areas conduct their counts. However, when combined with other local data sources, the downward trend becomes clearer.

Housing crisis

Cllr Claire Moonan, lead councillor for rough sleeping, said: “We’re experiencing an ongoing national housing crisis and it’s shocking how quickly someone can end up in dire need on the streets.

“Helping people move away from rough sleeping is a priority for this council and, working with our partners, we’re making a positive sustainable difference to people’s lives. 

“We’ve invested in services and successfully bid to government for funding to run new shelters and expand support for people who are rough sleeping. We’re moving in the right direction but I’m concerned about what the future holds when the current government funding ends in March 2020, little over a year away. The flow of new rough sleepers every week still remains very high.

“While the number of people who are sleeping rough at any time is considerably lower than in previous years, there is still much work to be done. In particular, to address the underlying causes of rough sleeping and homelessness at a national level. As far as I am concerned, even one person rough sleeping is too many. We will do all we can to help.

 “At the same time, our services are stretched and we urge anyone without accommodation arranged not to come to the city.”

Regular research

The council and partners monitor the situation locally to tailor services according to need. Regular street counts are carried out across a wide area of the city covering the vast majority of people rough sleeping. A comprehensive overview is also provided by a database, shared by agencies supporting those in need, which is updated daily with information from across the city. 

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