Support for rough sleepers this Christmas

Accommodation and support is available for people sleeping rough in the city who need the council’s help over Christmas.

We will be opening our Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) shelter from Christmas Eve to the morning of 28 December and again from New Year’s Eve through to the morning of 2 January.

SWEP provides shelter for all rough sleepers in the city and venues are made available to meet demand. We’re providing food for everyone who needs it in our SWEP accommodation.

At other times, SWEP will open when the temperature is predicted to feel like zero degrees Celsius or below, or when there is an amber weather warning. This is one of the lowest triggers for opening SWEP services in the country. 

As in previous years, our SWEP venue has self-contained rooms and referrals are made through our street outreach service.

When SWEP is triggered, the city’s street outreach service (CGL) go out looking for people we know to be rough sleeping to offer them warm accommodation.

The First Base Day Centre, who provide services for people who are rough sleeping, will also refer people to SWEP when it is triggered.

Anyone not accommodated during the day is referred into our SWEP venue by the street outreach service.

Our SWEP accommodation was open for throughout the recent cold snap and accommodated 49 people.

Extra support for people sleeping rough this winter

In addition to the severe weather shelter, we have accommodation and support for up to 25 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough throughout the winter, following a successful bid for additional government funding.

The accommodation is open day and night - whatever the weather - until 31 March 2023. It gives us a better opportunity to work with residents to help them move off the streets into longer term sustainable accommodation.

Referrals to the accommodation are made through the city’s street outreach service, managed by CGL.

The city’s ‘No Second Night Out’ (NSNO) accommodation has also re-opened in new premises, offering a safe place for up to 45 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough.

NSNO is managed by the homelessness charity St Mungo’s, and people staying at the hub have their needs assessed to develop plans to move them away from the streets.

The aim is to act swiftly as a short-term support when people start rough sleeping and to find out how best to help.

We also have the off-street offer providing short-stay emergency accommodation in a safe place for up to 30 entrenched rough sleepers.

Similar to the NSNO service, people staying in the accommodation will have their needs assessed and personalised support to help them move permanently from the streets.

Concerned about someone sleeping rough?

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

Our street outreach team will then contact them to try to offer them appropriate support and housing assistance.

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

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

Preventing homelessness

If you are threatened with homelessness, please contact us to get advice as soon as possible. We can support you with any problems making it difficult to stay in your home.

The homeless prevention and housing options support we provide includes action to prevent applicants from becoming homeless, help to keep or secure accommodation and a personalised housing plan.

Warm and safe accommodation

Councillor David Gibson, co-chair of the Housing Committee, said: “We’re opening SWEP to provide warm, safe accommodation and making sure food and drink is available there for anyone who needs it.

“It’s also great news to see the ‘No Second Night Out’ has reopened in time for Christmas.

“It all adds up to a wide-ranging package of accommodation and support in the city to help people move away from the streets. They also give us an opportunity to work closely with people and offer them support to end their homelessness.

“Our priority continues to be to help everyone sleeping on the streets into safe, secure accommodation.

“With soaring rents and increased evictions, the homeless pressures are great amid the cost of living crisis. It does feel like we are pushing a boulder uphill so I’d like to thank officers, partners and the many volunteers for the hard work and excellent support they provide - and for their dedication in making sure support is available to people who need it this Christmas.

“If you are worried about anyone rough sleeping, please let us know via Streetlink so we can provide them with the support they need.”

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. .

The latest campaign has raised more than £4,000 since its launch in October. Many thanks to everyone who’s donated.

Find out more

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