An appeal has been made for a suitable venue to be turned into a year-round shelter or other service for rough sleepers as early as this summer.
Brighton and Hove City Council is setting up the new service, and is searching for an appropriate place for it to be held, initially for up to a year.
Last winter, the Brighton Centre was open from 10 December until March 11. It closure prompted protests from campaigners and Green councillors.
This year, £165,000 has been allocated to providing more help for rough sleepers. But what service can be provided depends largely on what kind of accommodation the city council can find.
Cllr Clare Moonan, lead councillor for rough sleeping, said: “We’re tackling a national housing crisis at our local level. This is the next step in helping vulnerable people on our streets gain shelter and support to move away from the dangerous rough sleeping lifestyle.
“Over the winter months we ran a successful night shelter at the Brighton Centre. We’ve gained valuable insight from the shelter which will be used as part of the innovative ways we can help more moving forward, working with partners, residents and communities across the city.
“It’s a huge challenge. We’re seeing more vulnerable people sleeping rough on our streets at a time when funding from government is being dramatically reduced, which is having an impact on services.
“We are determined to help those in need and we are making sure the funds available are invested in the best way possible. We’ll be sharing regular updates as the plans develop over the coming months.”
The building type required needs to have:
- Space to accommodate up to 30 people, ideally with smaller separate rooms
- Kitchen and toilet facilities
- Safe premises meeting fire safety and health and safety regulations
- Availability from Summer or early Autumn 2018
- Access from 6pm to 8am, 365 days of the year from the day the service starts running
- A central location
- Disability access
- Storage space for equipment
- Low cost
The council is also looking again at its own buildings for suitability and availability to add to the options.
Its adult social care team will work with the venue owner to develop an agreement for use and ensure the service is well managed and appropriately staffed.
A council spokeswoman said: “The Brighton Centre was available over the winter months when there were no major conferences booked. It will be one of the council buildings considered again for any future service but its primary role is as a popular conference centre bringing major investment to the city.
“Moving in and out of the shelter room when existing bookings need the space can be disruptive for those staying there so other options are being sought.
“The new service might be a different format from a shelter, there are no firm plans in place yet as this will be a new venture. We’re exploring what premises might be available in the city that we are unaware of at present. It’s early stages and the aim is to gain as many options as possible.”
If you are able to help, please email Commissioning.Team@brighton-hove.gov.uk with details of your property and your contact details before Thursday, 17 May 2018. We will be in touch to discuss the options and see how this could work for all concerned.