Millions of pounds will be spent trying to reduce the number of people sleeping rough in Brighton and Hove over the next few years after a series of votes by councillors.
They want to improve and expand the services on offer to tackle homelessness, taking advantage of extra funding from the government.
One councillor expressed concern that some of the decisions were uncosted at a council committee meeting at Hove Town Hall last night (Wednesday 13 November).
But they were given a clear picture of the challenges confronting Brighton and Hove City Council and the approach being recommended as the weather becomes more wintry.
And their decisions were made against a backdrop of unauthorised tented camps popping up across Brighton and Hove.
The council’s Housing Committee asked officials to work with organisations such as St Mungo’s and Brighton Housing Trust to prevent people from becoming homeless and to help rough sleepers off the streets as quickly as possible.
They also pressed for outreach work to be stepped up from six days a week to seven.
Former Conservative council leader Mary Mears said that she could not vote for one of the services without knowing the cost.
But Green councillor Amy Heley said that she wanted a seven-day-a-week service, adding: “We’re not pretending to know the financial implications. We want a vote on the principle.”
The council’s acting executive director of neighbourhoods, communities and housing, Pinaki Ghoshal, said that if the cost was above the budgeted level, it would have to be agreed by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee.
Two of the services – the No Second Night Out Hub and the Somewhere Safe to Stay service – were both subject to funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Somewhere Safe to Stay is a “no first night out” service, offering 12 “crash beds” and 10 “units of accommodation”.
Both are going out to tender, subject to the available budget or grant funding.
The committee asked for annual reports on the progress and outcomes of these services.
Rough sleeping figures
In the past two years 877 were found rough sleeping in Brighton and Hove.
In the past three months 85 people have moved from the streets into accommodation
Half the people helped by the city’s street outreach service operated by St Mungo’s have moved away from the streets.
Of these 136 are in supported housing, 110 in temporary homes and 41 in long-term accommodation.
A further 119 were reconnected with family or friends or returned home.
Out of the 877, 380 were found once.
In September 72 people were found sleeping on the streets on one night. Of these 64 were men and eight women.
This matches the general trend for rough sleepers as approximately 80 per cent are men.
Half of all rough sleepers in the city have no local connection.
A breakdown found 80 per cent were from the UK, with 10 per cent from the EU, and 6 per cent not from other parts of the world.
Somewhere Safe to Stay
This year 96 people have stayed in Somewhere Safe to Stay.
Of these 35 had a local connection to the city.
Sixty eight people were from the UK, 10 from EU countries, six from African nations and three from Asia.
Eight gave no details.
No Second Night Out
No Second Night Out has 17 spaces for people new to the streets or to the city.
In the past year 199 people have stayed at the hub.
A total of 153 people are no longer rough sleeping because of the service.
Of the remaining 46 who have been rough sleeping after leaving the hub, approximately nine are still on the streets.
Cold weather funding
The Ministry of Communities, Housing and Local Government has provided £200,000 for cold weather accommodation during the winter.
This has supplied 12 units of bed and breakfast type accommodation for rough sleepers, staffed 24/7 from the end of November until the end of March 2020.