An innovative process is making sure former rough sleepers in Brighton & Hove are accommodated as safely as possible through the Covid-19 pandemic.
We’ve worked with health and voluntary sector partners to set up a ‘Care & Protect’ model which, after assessing a person’s medical and support needs, directs the accommodation and support package provided.
It allows us to provide care and separate accommodation for anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, while protecting those who are vulnerable to Covid-19 by accommodating them elsewhere.
It also includes measures to make sure all support staff working in the accommodation are protected.
Care & Protect
Over the past few weeks, we’ve secured a number of buildings in the city to provide safe, self-contained accommodation.
We’ve helped around 190 people who had been sleeping rough move off the streets. We’ve also provided rooms for new homeless cases and people in shared accommodation.
Under the Care & Protect package, we’ve set up different types of accommodation to make sure we can care for people with symptoms and provide the greatest level of protection for those at the highest risk.
Public Health England has identified rough sleepers as a particularly vulnerable group and the support follows their guidance on best practice to protect them from Covid-19.
Medical assessments are being carried out by Arch Healthcare, with St Mungo’s providing support across the accommodation.
All accommodation is staffed 24 hours a day and supported accommodation staff are working hard to make sure everyone can access the support they need.
Local health organisations including Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Change, Grow, Live Recovery Service are helping provide support to make sure we’re able to respond to homeless people’s physical and mental health and substance misuse needs.
Volunteers are helping deliver food and toiletries to everyone in the accommodation, as well as delivering donated items helping to keep people entertained in their rooms.
Critical response to keeping people safe
Dr Tim Worthley, GP and Clinical Lead for Arch Healthcare, said: “‘The Care & Protect model is absolutely critical in the effort to keep homeless people safe during the outbreak.
“The Arch clinical team have worked tirelessly to establish triaging protocols that enable people to be accommodated according to their need, and are providing ongoing care and support to individuals and staff in these settings.
"The dedication shown and the speed at which partners across our city have acted to relieve suffering and save lives is truly inspiring and we’re glad to be playing our part.”
Unique opportunity to help
Rachael Treloar, St Mungo’s Street Outreach Service Manager for Brighton & Hove, said: “St Mungo’s are providing support to people who were sleeping rough and who are now in hotels or temporary accommodation.
“We are working hard to ensure that everyone has a holistic assessment of their support needs and the circumstances that have made them homeless.
“With the provision of emergency hotel accommodation, we have a unique opportunity to end rough sleeping in Brighton & Hove and, alongside the council’s Homelessness Prevention Team, support people in hotels to find more suitable, long-term accommodation that meets their needs.”
The council’s chair of housing, Councillor Gill Williams, said: “The level of support we’ve set up for to keep people sleeping rough safe over the Covid-19 crisis is among the very highest in the country.
“It has relied on working closely with our partners and it’s been inspiring to see so many organisations pull together to get where we are.
“We’ve been able to secure enough safe accommodation for everyone rough sleeping in the city. There is no need for anyone to be sleeping rough or begging in the city at the moment.
“It’s been a huge effort to get here and is a huge effort to keep going – staff and volunteers across many services are working tirelessly to keep people safe.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this incredible response - it is making a real difference to people’s lives. They are all heroes!”
Worried about someone rough sleeping?
Our outreach service St Mungo’s are continuing to contact anyone sleeping rough and move them into the safe accommodation.
If you see anyone you think might be sleeping rough, please let us know by contacting Streetlink. St Mungo’s Street Outreach Service can then get in touch with them and help them get the support they need.