Emergency homeless shelter stayed shut during severe storm, councillors told

Concerns were raised for the safety of homeless people after an emergency shelter was not opened during severe storms.

A member of the public, David Thomas, voiced his concerns at Brighton and Hove City Council’s Housing Committee meeting this afternoon (Wednesday 13 November).

He told the committee that he was prompted to ask about the council’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) as the emergency shelter had not been available during the first weekend of November.

Mr Thomas said: “There have been a number of severe storms, the worst on (Saturday) 2 November, with very severe rain and gale force wind.

“The sea smashed over the Western Esplanade and trees came down in the Old Steine. Yet the SWEP was not open.

“In the future this should operate compassionately.”

Committee chair, Labour councillor Gill Williams said that the SWEP was under review with a more flexible approach being considered.

She said: “We did take action to open last weekend and we are looking to open more.

“We will bear in mind the issues you raised and hopefully this won’t happen again.”

Brighton and Hove’s SWEP shelter currently opens on “a flexible basis” when the temperature feels like zero degrees or when there is an amber weather warning.

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