Rough sleepers to be given millions of pounds worth of help

Posted On 18 Nov 2020 at 5:45 pm

The government has allocated an extra £3.4 million to help rough sleepers off the street in Brighton and Hove – the largest sum awarded to any council outside London.

The latest award comes on top of other government funding worth about £3 million to provide “longer-term sustainable housing” for the homeless.

Ministers pledged to put a roof over the head of Britain’s rough sleepers at the start of the first coronavirus lockdown in the spring.

Brighton and Hove City Council moved hundreds of people into hotels and guest houses initially – and later into university halls of residence.

The number far exceeded the council’s official figure of 88 rough sleepers.

With the return of students to university in September, many of those people have been moved again.

The council said: “We’ve been awarded around £3.4 million to provide immediate short-term accommodation and support this financial year and around £3 million to provide longer-term sustainable housing options for the people accommodated.

“The funding is ring-fenced to support the 369 people we were accommodating at the end of September and anyone subsequently found to be sleeping rough in the city.

“There are also conditions attached to the funding to move on at least 40 per cent of the people accommodated by (Thursday) 31 December.

“This is a huge challenge but we are working very hard to find suitable long-term sustainable housing or, for those without a local connection to the city, support their return to the area where they can be offered accommodation – as long as it’s safe for them to do so.”

The council added: “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve provided safe self-contained accommodation for people who were sleeping rough.

“We’ve worked with health and voluntary sector partners to set up a ‘care and protect’ model which, after assessing a person’s medical and support needs, directs the accommodation and support package provided.

“This has allowed us to provide care and separate accommodation for anyone with symptoms of covid-19 while protecting those who are vulnerable to covid-19 by accommodating them elsewhere.

“Everyone who needs it is being provided with food and support.

“We’re currently accommodating around 340 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough in the city and are working on ‘personal housing plans’ to support them all into sustainable long-term housing.

“We’ve successfully moved more than 100 people on from the emergency accommodation since the end of September.

“However, we are seeing more people rough sleeping in the city every week which adds to the pressure of providing accommodation.

“For some people with complex needs it can be difficult to move from the streets and we are aware of around 30 people currently sleeping rough in the city.

“Our partner organisations are continuing work with them to ensure everyone rough sleeping can be supported into safe accommodation.”

Green councillor David Gibson, joint chair of the council’s Housing Committee, said: “This funding is vital to our commitment to avoid anyone needing to return to the streets.

Councillor David Gibson

“We’ve been awarded the highest amount of any local authority in the country. That’s down to the hard work our officers and partners put in to the bid itself, as well as the incredible package of support that’s been available for rough sleepers throughout the year.

“The accommodation and support we’ve been able to offer people who were rough sleeping this year has been crucial to keeping them – and the city – safe during the covid-19 pandemic.

“It has given us and our partners a vital opportunity to work closely with people we’ve previously struggled to engage.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this response who have worked so hard to get ‘everybody in’.

“The funding is not as much as we need … Our challenge now is to secure enough suitable longer-term housing and support for all the people accommodated within a very short timeframe.

“If we do not sustainably house 40 per cent of the homeless people by (Thursday) 31 December, the government say they will deny us over £1 million of the grant, so it is vital that we strain every sinew to meet this target.

“With the shortage of accommodation in the city and more newly arrived rough sleepers each week, this is possibly the biggest challenge of all.”

Councillor Steve Bell

Conservative leader Steve Bell said that the money to help rough sleepers in Brighton and Hove was part of an extra £35 million provided to the council since the pandemic began.

Councillor Bell said: “The latest £4.78 million is hugely welcome and will ease financial pressures on the council and ensure it is able to continue providing vital local services this winter.

“Just like we said we would stand behind people whose jobs are at risk – with over £200 billion so far to project jobs, incomes and businesses throughout and beyond this pandemic – this Conservative government is keeping its promise to local authorities and ensuring they have the resources they need to continue supporting people.”

Labour councillor Gill Williams, who speaks for the opposition on housing, said: “It’s testament to the hard work of staff and volunteers across many services that we’ve been able to secure this extra funding.

“There’s still a very difficult challenge ahead but we hope this funding helps … everyone we’ve been supporting this year.”

Councillor Gill Williams

The council pays the homeless charity St Mungo’s to run an outreach service in Brighton and Hove to help rough sleepers off the streets.

The council added: “If you see anyone you think might be sleeping rough, please let us know by contacting Streetlink.

“St Mungo’s Street Outreach Service can then get in touch with them and help them get the support they need.”

  1. Greens Out Reply

    “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve provided safe self-contained accommodation for people who were sleeping rough.”

    This is not true though.

    The accommodation, whilst on paper may have been,safe, it was anything but. As soon as the restrictions were lifted. Many of the housed were back on the streets and straight back into begging, street drinking etc, all the while the council were continuing to pay for their accommodation (council’s own figures…from lockdown in March to the end of June £12,600 PER PERSON).

    There were numerous instances of antisocial behaviour at the various hostels, hotels, halls in which they were accommodated. There were numerous deaths from drug misuse at these venues. It hasn’t solved anything.

    “We’ve successfully moved more than 100 people on from the emergency accommodation since the end of September”

    Rented hotels in Eastbourne, without telling Eastbourne Bourough Council which is your requirement to do so, and shoved them over there. Out of sigt out of mind maybe?

    “We’ve been awarded the highest amount of any local authority in the country.”…outside of Greater London. Oh, maybe because over the last 15 years BHCC has become such a soft touch for the homeless more is spent on their needs than the basic services afforded to the actual tax paying residents of the town (city).

    Having worked with St Mungos as a volunteer during lockdown Pt.1 They are brilliant and long may the people that give up their time to help are there the help will be there.

    The rest of it? Usual BHCC crap.

    Sorry, but that’s how it is.

  2. Greens Out Reply

    Would anyone from our wonderfully useless coucil like to say how many of the rooms they hired out in Phoenix Halls, at great expense, for three/four months had to be be completely refurbished because they were trashed?

    Maybe Jo you could put a FOI request in?

  3. Chaz Reply

    If you provide everything for free, they will keep on coming.
    The legacy of the Greens is rough sleepers and druggies of all sorts.

  4. Garrison Reply

    “With the shortage of accommodation in the city and more newly arrived rough sleepers each week.” – any ideas why more and more arrive each week? Just moved on 10 rough sleepers housed in the YHA buying and selling drugs from my doorstep, thanks Greens for making Brighton the number one go to destination for rough sleepers. Like migrants they should be shared out equally and rehomed around the country so no one city has to put up with a disproportionate number like we have to

    • Nigel Furness Reply

      Yes Garrison, I do have an idea.
      The ever-increasing numbers of rough sleepers arriving in this City have obviously learned that our Council is a soft touch when it comes to catering for their needs.
      Very recently we learned that as a result of Covid measures all rough sleepers had been accommodated—some in unused student halls of residence and some in hotels, both here and in surrounding towns such as Eastbourne.
      Well, yesterday evening as I walked past the Co-op store on Western Road, Hove, I stumbled upon the beginnings of a new ‘tent city’ on the corner of Brunswick Road.
      It comprised a tarpaulin over the cycle park and the raised community flower bed, an offise swivel chair and two ordinary chairs plus alarge amount of cardboard box, carrier bag and clothing clutter accompanied by a radio of some sort which was playing loudly.
      Two middle-aged men were present, one shouting at the other in a Scottish accent while the other one was shouting in a Leicester -sounding accent at a younger Essex-sounding woman who was on her knees trying to pacify a small, black, bull terrier-type dog, whilst an assortment of rubbish ranging from wrappers, USED TISSUES, drinks cans and the remains of a pizza lay all over the pavement.
      While I’ve seen this sort of thing all over th City in recent times I’ve never seen it adjoining buildings currently in use and I’m wondering if this represents an attempt to jump the housing queue by behaving so objectionabley that measures will have to be taken in order to remove them—especially since the two Councillors representing that area are none other than Phelim MacCafferty and Hannah Clare, the Leader and Deputy Leader, respectively, of our City Council—just a thought!

  5. Hove Guy Reply

    Maybe Caroline Lucas will accomodate them.

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