Council in talks to open refugee hostel in former Kemp Town care home

Posted On 22 Oct 2015 at 3:47 pm

Brighton and Hove City Council is in talks to use a Brighton care home to house refugees, Brighton and Hove News understands.

St Joseph's Care Home, Kemp Town. Image taken from Google Street ViewThe Institute of Our Lady of Mercy announced in August that it was closing St Joseph’s Care Home in Bristol Road, Kemp Town, as it was no longer financially viable.

At the time, the care home said it was intending to move the 12 residents out of the home by the end of October at the latest.

A council spokesman said: “We have had some early discussions with the Catholic diocese about using St Joseph’s to provide short term accommodation for refugees but nothing has been agreed.

“Any plans would be fully consulted on and would require planning permission for a change of use for the building.”

The council said that it was intending to take in at least nine Syrian refugee households and said that the government was seeking to support it financially.

Yesterday Councillor Emma Daniel said: “I have worked tirelessly with a committed and experienced officer team to ensure that we can accommodate at least nine households in accommodation that doesn’t push people already in housing need in our city further down the queue.”

She was speaking in response to Green councillor Leo Littman’s calls for the Labour adminstration to do more to accommodate Syrian refugees and work with more outside agencies.

A petition urging the council to take in more refugees has been signed by more than 600 people.

Councillor Emma Daniel

Councillor Emma Daniel

In August a care home spokesman said that the closure was due in part to the small size of the home, which is able to accommodates about 14 people.

Modern care homes typically house about 50 people, which enables them to benefit from economies of scale St Joseph’s is unable to.

The Institute of Our Lady of Mercy said: “The Institute of Our Lady of Mercy announced earlier this year that, after a period of consultation, St Joseph’s Rest Home will close at the end of October.

“The Sisters of Mercy have been a presence in Brighton since 1852 and it is with great sadness that they have taken the difficult decision to leave.

“The trustees have been considering how the building can best be used to promote the institute’s charitable purposes.

“The sisters have been moved by the plight of the Syrian refugees across Europe and the many thousands of vulnerable and destitute people that have fled war-torn Syria.

“They have had some initial discussions with the local diocese and with local charities to consider whether, in the spirit of the foundress Catherine McAuley, St Joseph’s might in some way be able to be used as a mercy centre to assist a number of the vulnerable Syrian refugees that the government has committed to help.

“Discussions are still at a very early stage with the relevant parties and the trustees do not yet know whether it will be possible to use St Joseph’s for this purpose.

“However, the trustees can assure our neighbours that nothing will be done without complying in full with the law which will need to include a public consultation if the use of the building is to be changed.

“Our local friends and neighbours will have the opportunity to make representations to the council in the usual way though, of course, we would hope that they will be happy to support any such initiative.

“The trustees will write to our neighbours in due course, once a clear way forward has been agreed.”

Anyone who can offer help in housing refugees should email refugeehelp@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

  1. martin lawrence Reply

    TO: WARREN MORGAN, LEADER OF BRIGHTON AND HOVE CITY COUNCIL DEAL WITH THE CITY’S ROUGH-SLEEPER CRISIS BEFORE REFUGEES – Signed by 100 people: 100 signatures in 12 hours .WHAT IS BEING DONE TO ADDRESS THE HOMELESS ISSUE- THAT MEANS ACCOMMODATION CAN BE GIVEN TO PEOPLE NEW TO THE TOWN – IF ITS AVAILABLE GET PEOPLE OFF THE STREETS – PUT AN END TO SOFA -SURFING – IF THAT MEANS LESS HMO’S SO BE IT – CAN YOU ALSO TELL ME IF HOMING REFUGEES IS FUNDED BY CENTRAL GOVERNMENT OR BY THE COUNCIL TAX PAYERS

    • Debbie Upton Reply

      Martin Lawrence have you got the link to the petition plz, i know hundreds of people who would like to sign it.

      • martin lawrence Reply

        Sorry for late reply – been away , petition was closed as it got the 100 signatures needed to evoke a response ( in less than 12 hours)

  2. Mr. Wingrave Reply

    so, if it was closed because it wasn’t able to be supported financially……………how come all of a sudden our government can afford to run it for refugees? Charity begins at home, our elderly that have put everything into this country; our armed forces veterans that are homeless or injured. These are who our ‘representatives’ that we voted in (or not) should be looking after.

  3. John wilson Reply

    Warren Morgan typical naive Socialist. Millions spent for new Traveller camp.Millions for student accommodation Now a refugee hostel.Ignore our own homeless sleeping on the streets and on benches,some who are ex soldiers,ignore the troubled mentally sick also on the streets.No it makes headlines for you misguided Socialists.

    • Angry rant Reply

      Warren Morgan a Socialist? You have to be joking!

  4. emma fenn Reply

    What about opening this building to help the homeless situation in Brighton. Charity starts at home so where has the money come from all of a sudden to help these so called refugees when there is no money or help for our own who are suffering. There are also families already shareing one room in hostels in Brighton. Why could this building not be used to give somenofbthese a bit more space. I think this decision is appauling and a petition needs to be signed saying that we are not happy about it

  5. Mark roddwell Reply

    Instead of putting refugees in the building . There should be homeless people’s In the building .so we get them of the Street and get more people coming to spend money in bnghhon

  6. Bridget Whelan Reply

    My mother was a resident at St Joseph’s until her death in 2012. She received wonderful care and support and my family and I will always be grateful that she was so well looked after in the last years of her long life. While it is sad to think that the Home can no longer continue in its old form, I can’t think of a better role for St Joseph’s in the future than to be a sanctury for families fleeing violence and torture. My mother would have approved. By the way, people often forget that the full saying is: charity begins at home, but shouldn’t stay there.

    • Patrick H Reply

      Charity isn’t beginning at home though is it, that is the whole point. Our Government won’t fund it as a Retirement Home which means elderly residents are going to be evicted and have to find somewhere else to live. They also won’t fund it as somewhere to live for the many homeless on the streets of Brighton and Hove.

      They are however, more than happy to fund it for Refugees. That is not charity beginning at home.

  7. Brenda Hood Reply

    I am totally appalled that Brighton Council should even consider this , as i think the majority of Brighton residents would be against this. I certainly am and as had been said before ,what about our own homeless on the the streets, also the families in B and B council care they MUST come first. Have a heart and a re think Brighton Council. I am a born and bred Brightonian and want to be proud of my city and not disgusted

  8. emma Reply

    For those people who are pro having these valuable buildings used to house refugees why don’t you consider taking them into your home with all the other people who have “refugee welcome” posters in their windows. I am so appalled that people put these refugees before our own homeless. There is an es English serviceman who has fought for our country living on the streets by the level. Why not house these people and the rest of our homeless. I suspect that those in agreement with this plan have never come across hard times and are those who would step over a homeless person calling them “scum” when out. Lets not forget we are all only a few steps away from living in a cardboard box so climb out of your cosy lives and look around you

    • Angry rant Reply

      Why don’t you offer to have Homeless people in your home? We have several homeless hostels in Brighton already.

    • martin lawrence Reply

      emma can you get me any details i am looking to offer my spare room to an ex-servive man , my facebook account is Martin Loz Lawrence.
      thanks in advance

  9. Keith Reply

    This is a travesty of justice, old people being moved to accommodate refugees , the council say they cannot afford to upkeep the building but can afford refugees ????? What about our young homeless and elderly wanting care and attention , these councillors need a wake up call instead of being or banging the drum for foreigners .

  10. Chloe hillier Reply

    I cannot believe it! What a disgrace, our soldiers deserve this place

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