“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” sang Andy Williams. “There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow.”
But for people who are homeless, especially those living on the streets, it is anything but that.
It is a time when they are reminded of everything they have lost.
Shelter has just published a report – “This is England: a picture of homelessness in 2019” – which identifies the local areas across the country where homelessness is most acute.
Those areas where private rents are expensive, like Brighton and Hove, come out worst.
The city is ranked 23rd in this league table. One in 75 people in the city – 2,876 individuals – are classed as “homeless”.
That doesn’t mean rough sleeping. That number is officially 64 although most people think that that is a gross underestimate.
Numbers have gone down recently, thanks to the efforts of Brighton and Hove City Council and the various charities increasing their service provision.
But more, much more, needs to be done.
At this Christmas time, spare a thought for those less fortunate than you or me.
Why not give the gift of a better future by supporting one of the many local charities who are changing lives?
Of course, my job is to encourage you to support the work of Brighton Housing Trust. Our First Base Day Centre will be open throughout the Christmas period.
Thank you and Merry Christmas.
Andy Winter is the chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust (BHT).
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