Opinion – Our night shelter will help rough sleepers but it won’t end rough sleeping

Posted On 09 Dec 2017 at 3:39 pm

This Sunday the council will be opening a winter night shelter for local rough sleepers at the Brighton Centre.

This will provide a safe space for 30 local people over the coldest months of the year.

Once warm and after a hot meal, they will be able to start to engage with our outreach workers and be linked into the city’s support services.

We have had hundreds of offers of support for the winter night shelter from the community which is amazing.

We have had dentists and hairdressers offering their services, people who want to help with food and give warm clothes or bedding.

All this will help to support these people to move forward with their lives.

We have far too many people who are ending up sleeping on our city streets and nationally the numbers are going up everywhere. This is very concerning to the council and residents.

We have a national housing crisis and a private rented sector that is unaffordable for many.

This means for some people the loss of their job or the breakdown of their relationship will be all it takes to end up sleeping rough.

Once on the streets people’s health can quickly deteriorate.

Brighton and Hove City Council is working hard with partners and the community to develop a number of solutions to rough sleeping.

Local agencies worked together to help more than 1,300 rough sleepers off the streets last year.

We were united across parties to find a suitable building for this winter night shelter and we will continue to open our emergency shelters for all rough sleepers when it is really cold.

But the permanent solution is more homes. Until there is some answer to private sector rents rising and rising, a job market for many that is low paid and insecure and a benefit system that is being systematically cut back, we will not solve this crisis.

But despite all this in Brighton and Hove we will keep trying to end the need for anyone to sleep rough on our streets.

Councillor Clare Moonan is the Labour lead for rough sleepers on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. MegA Reply

    Since the mandatory licensing of Small HMOs in 12 wards in the city there is quite a lots of under-occupation of “3 – bedroom” houses (especially in Lewes Rd aea) as the 3rd bedroom does not meet minimum space requirements. What used to be 3-bedroom houses, with the smaller bedroom in a share house often at the lowest rent, are now being occupied by 2 people, with the 3rd room as a study. Rents have NOT dropped despite occupation being restricted because of not qualifying for an HMO licence. This has meant many cheaper bedrooms in share houses are no longer available. The law of unintended consequences prevails.

  2. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    It is of course welcome that things are being done for “rough sleepers”. When I was on the Council, one of the many things I learnt was that there are as many causes of rough sleeping as there are rough sleepers. They are individuals. The psychological roots of this are complex – there is no simple solution. For example, some go into a hostel and sleep beside the bed, on the floor, as they are used to a hard sidewalk. Many are former Servicemen used to being under fire and now find it very hard to adjust.

    One winter’s night, until 3pm, I went around on foot for many miles with an Equinox team by torchlight to visit those sleeping out. These are known to the team. That is a key aspect, of which some residents are perhaps unaware.

    Along with former cllr Bowden and then-Mayor Denise Cobb, I spent a night outside to raise money for Off-The-Fence at this time of the year. Along with light pollution, and despite thermal underwear, it was hard to get to sleep (and I must add that Denise did not have advantage of the Mayor’s regalia about her on that occasion).

    I could, of course, write more. Suffice to say that it is terrifying that, despite all our technological advances, we are in a situation akin to the Thirties’ of almost a century ago.

    We need public libraries, and other such services, where people can make use of their talents and abilities – and be given credit for finding their way through browsing everything that human experience has left upon the printed page.

    I could write much more on this, but these are a few points amidst the many which have stayed with me from an experience for which I got such abuse amidst politicians.

    We need to seek an extra-political solution to this appalling situation.

    • rolivan Reply

      You lost me at Libraries Mr Hawtree,if they were rebranded as Media Centres they might have more chance of survival just like the problem with homeless and rough sleepers where Mental Health issues need to be addressed.

    • Fishwife, 49 Reply

      Oh good grief, Christopher: is there NO topic of conversation which you can’t shoehorn the word “library” into? Seriously, change the record!

  3. John Snow Reply

    Why are we condoning laziness? Too many stupid excuses to be homeless because of the knowledge of a safety net.If they knew there would be no help from anyone, they surely would find a way.And who said survival of the fittest has stopped? We are all fighting to survive so they should too.If not then they are no use.Its simple.FIGHT OR DIE!

    • Fishwife, 49 Reply

      I think you must be looking for the Argus comments section: it’s over there, on the right. No, further…

      • Bogol Reply

        Very good!

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