‘Homeless people are dying on our streets and we must do something about it’

Posted On 18 Feb 2016 at 9:13 pm

A senior Brighton and Hove politician spoke about some of the huge challenges facing people without a home in the area.

Former Green council leader and mayor Bill Randall, who chaired the council’s Housing Committee until last May, said: “Homeless people are dying on the streets. It is totally unacceptable and we must do something about it.”

Mr Randall was chairing a session of the Fairness Commission set up by the incoming Labour administration which now runs Brighton and Hove City Council.

He touched on issues affecting those struggling to find a home and afford a home and those trying to help them, including politicians, policymakers and housing officers.

Bill Randall

Bill Randall

Mr Randall, who has joined the board of Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) since he retired from the council, took evidence from experts from the local area and further afield.

As the commission’s evidence session concluded this evening (Thursday 18 February) he emphasised the need to tackle employment issues at the same time as the housing crisis.

And he expressed concern that housing associations were not building enough homes for those in the greatest need.

Mr Randall praised the Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative for its work as the commission heard about fuel poverty as well as housing quality and affordability.

One witness alleged at the meeting that at least one landlord in Brighton prevented tenants from being able to switch energy supplier in contravention of the law.

Mr Randall said that no private landlords had accepted the invitation to come and speak despite accounting for a growing share of the local property market.

Members of the Fairness Commission, who include business people and academics, were also given an evidence pack with a wealth of information about the state of housing in Brighton and Hove. To read it, click here.

About two dozen members of the public sat through the two and a half hours of evidence at the Friends’ Meeting House, in Ship Street, Brighton, along with some senior officials from the council.

The commission is expected to report its findings, which will also cover education, health and other needs and services, in the summer.

The council’s Labour administration aims to use the findings to make Brighton and Hove a fairer and more equal place to live and work even while having to cut spending.

Next Thursday (25 February) the council will set its annual budget.

  1. Valerie Paynter Reply

    When working people are living on the street because their wages cannot begin to get them housed, it is surely clear the Government has to step in.

    I read an article via a tweet last night that showed 8,700 homeless live on the streets of San Diego in the USA, including elderly couples.

    The entire Western way of life has created this situation throughout the west. And interestingly, no Govt is able to raise interest rates to push for growth.

    We are in a lot of trouble, globally, and Governments are impotent fools letting things drift and just squabbling amongst their political cronies selves.

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