Support for rough sleepers

If you’re concerned about anyone sleeping rough in the city, please let us know by reporting through the Streetlink website or by calling 0300 500 0914.

Our Covid emergency accommodation remains available every day for anyone who needs the council’s help.

With the new highly contagious variant of Covid and the current national lockdown, we’re reviewing our procedures and accommodation requirements to make sure we continue to be in the best to keep people as safe as possible.

There have been a number of Covid cases within the accommodation. We’re working with our health and voluntary sector partners and the accommodation providers to look after all those testing positive to keep them well and protect other residents.

Our street outreach partners St Mungo’s are continuing to work in the city seven days a week to engage with anyone rough sleeping. 

We’re aware of around 10 people currently sleeping rough in the city. Our focus continues to be to help everyone sleeping on the streets into safe, secure accommodation.

Extra support during colder weather

In colder weather, we open our council-run SWEP venue which has self-contained rooms to make sure there is an alternative safe place to stay in severe weather for anyone reluctant to take up the other offers of accommodation.

We’ve also opened 12 more units of supported accommodation and food for vulnerable rough sleepers. These will be available until March and is funded through a successful bid to the government’s ‘Cold Weather Fund’.

It’s important that anyone sleeping rough is offered help as soon as possible and that the assistance meets their needs, so accommodation is provided through referrals from organisations who understand what’s available and what support is needed.

So far this winter, SWEP has opened 30 times, including over Christmas. As well as safe and warm accommodation, the service provides hot meals, snacks, drinks and support.

When SWEP is triggered, we inform the services able to direct people into accommodation, including St Mungo’s, our housing options team, fire services, the police, and health and social care partners. 

St Mungo’s Street Outreach Service will contact people by telephone and go out seeking the people we know to be rough sleeping during the day to find them self-contained warm accommodation. 

Anyone not accommodated during the day will be referred into self-contained accommodation and provided with food. 

In order to safely manage access in line with infection prevention standards, we’re taking referrals from our street outreach service and not publicising the address. This is in order to protect this very vulnerable section of the community against the risk of Covid.

Reporting where people are through Streetlink is the best way of making sure that people get the support they need. This route has helped us get more of the people still sleeping on the streets into emergency accommodation over the past month.

Care and support to keep people safe

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve worked with health and voluntary sector partners to provide safe, self-contained accommodation for people who were sleeping rough.

We’re currently accommodating around 400 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough in the city in our Covid emergency accommodation. 

By 31 December 2020, 186 of the people accommodated at the end of September had moved on from the Covid emergency accommodation

Most have been successfully rehoused in more stable accommodation and this accounts for more than half of the people accommodated at the end of September, exceeding the challenging target set out in the government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme funding.

Despite that success, we’re still seeing the numbers of homeless people in the city increase, adding to the pressure on all our emergency accommodation.

The challenge to help everyone move on to more sustainable accommodation continues.

A higher proportion of the people remaining have multiple and complex needs and are less able to manage general needs accommodation. 

In response, we’re expanding our supply of ‘Housing First’ accommodation through our Home Purchase scheme. This will provide 30 more units of supported accommodation this financial year and will result in housing first support in place for 60 people in the city.

If you are threatened with homelessness, please contact our early intervention team as soon as possible. They can support you with any problems making it difficult to stay in your home. 

Helping transform lives

Councillor David Gibson, joint chair of the Housing Committee, said: “The pandemic has turned so much upside down, one positive has been the tremendous additional help we’ve been able to offer to all rough sleepers and others facing homelessness. 

“With limited government support and around 700 homeless households currently in emergency accommodation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. 

“We are determined to sustain this approach for as long as possible and do all we can to make our resources go further to help more people.

“I know from day to day contact how hard officers are working in the pandemic and, like other public servants, how much strain they are under to keep essential services running. 

“As well as the unprecedented level of accommodation and support, we’ve been able to secure 30 additional council properties for housing first this financial year. We’re also proposing further funding to expand housing first by another 18 properties next year.

“This will allow us to house people who have spent many of the last 20 years on the city’s streets. 

“This is a fantastic achievement and can help transform lives. Heartfelt thanks go to everyone involved.”

Make Change Count

If you’d like to support the charities and organisations across Brighton & Hove working with people to help them find a permanent solution to their homelessness, please donate to Make Change Count.

The Make Change Count campaign links local organisations experienced in supporting rough sleepers and preventing homelessness. 

These organisations, like many in the city, are currently working during the Covid crisis to provide connections into services and help people meet their basic needs.

The current fundraising has raised more than £35,000 - many thanks to everyone who has donated.

Find out more

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