The number of people who are rough sleeping in Brighton & Hove has risen over the last year.
Eighty-eight people were recorded as bedding down in the city during the government’s 2019 annual rough sleeping count. The annual counts take place nationally to find out how many people are rough sleeping around the country.
In Brighton & Hove, the count took place overnight on Tuesday 12 into Wednesday 13 November 2019.
The figure of 88 people was verified by independent organisation Homeless Link. This shows a rise from 64 people the year before, up by 24 people (34 per cent).
The count pools one night of research undertaken across the city by teams of outreach workers and volunteers working together to make a record of people bedded down in the city after midnight and through the early hours.
The government Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) requires local authorities to supply this information each year. The national count figures for 2019 were released by the MHCLG yesterday, Thursday 27 February.
In late January, the council carried out the latest of regular local street count.
Street counts are undertaken in the city every couple of months to build information about the local situation throughout the year so the right support can be offered.
The result for the January local count was that 83 people were found bedded down.
Councillor Gill Williams, lead for housing, said: “We’re not seeing a drop in the flow of people who are facing rough sleeping in the city and who we need to help. In the 21st century, the human tragedy of street homelessness is shocking and unacceptable.
“Sadly, this rise in numbers was not unexpected due to the ongoing impact of Universal Credit as well as the damage caused by cuts to support services for mental health and substance misuse. This is a national scandal and we’re feeling the terrible impact locally.
“We’re working with our partners to help people at their most vulnerable rebuild their lives. We’re also taking action before people end up in dire need to help those at risk of homelessness stay in their homes.
“Reducing homelessness and rough sleeping is one of our top priorities. We will do all we can to help those in need.”
The challenge is huge given the number of people in need of help. The council has invested in services to help people who are rough sleeping or at risk of homelessness.
Support services have helped more than 500 people sleeping rough in Brighton & Hove in the past year and intervened to prevent 717 households from becoming homeless.
We also fund a total of 732 bed spaces in the city for single homeless people and rough sleepers.
- 54 spaces at hubs and night shelters throughout the year (these include Somewhere Safe to Stay and No Second Night Out)
- Night shelter provision includes the new recently opened 365 day night shelter at St Patrick’s
- In addition, the Severe Weather Provision shelter is open to all when temperature drops to ‘feels like’ 0 degrees or in response to an Amber Weather Warning
- 446 units of supported accommodation for adults
- 143 units of young peoples supported accommodation
- 60 units of mental health supported accommodation
- 29 supported accommodation units opening between February & March 2020
The council budget for the year ahead shows an ongoing commitment to funding homelessness and rough sleeping services, £30.9million was agreed for these services in 2020/21.
This includes £50,000 for weekend winter shelter provision for rough sleepers and £300,000 for enhanced support and facilities for around 100 short term and emergency temporary accommodation properties.
The budget was passed on Thursday 27 February.