OPINION

Greens back better attitude to homeless encouraged by ‘bill of rights’

Brighton and Hove City Council has become one of the first to formally adopt the Homeless Bill of Rights as embodying the city’s aspirations for its treatment of homeless people.

The ethos of a “bill of rights” for homeless people – recognising their dignity and need for equality – is embedded in all work and action to support those who are homeless in the city.

The Homeless Bill of Rights, which has also been adopted in other cities such as Barcelona, Gdansk and some Greek cities, has been developed in consultation with homeless people and is intended to contribute to better outcomes and more progressive attitudes and practices for those who end up homeless.

The bill was embedded in the Homeless and Rough Sleeping Strategy in June as a standard to benchmark the council’s and its partners’ practice when working with homeless people.

Brighton and Hove will now become the first UK city to adopt the Bill.

While some of the requests in the bill are constrained by the legal limits to council powers set in national legislation, Greens want to see a stronger approach to achieving the standards set out in the bill, asking the council to work to acknowledge its important aspirations.

The council continues to make progress on the Housing Programme, a joint initiative of Green and Labour councillors, to ensure that-longer term provision of housing is achieved for all those who find themselves homeless.

This includes a drive to treble the number of “Housing First” placements, an initiative that provides accommodation to support homeless people with some of the most complex needs and for whom other approaches have failed.

Councillor David Gibson, joint chair of Housing Committee, said: “Sadly some attitudes to homeless people continue to be infused with a deeply stigmatising blame on the individual.

“Historically, this means homeless people have often been treated as either deserving or undeserving of help, despite the many causes of homelessness and our housing crisis.

“We are proud to support this important bill, that urges all of us to right these wrongs by recognising that absolutely fundamental principles – including equality, dignity, and access to fair and considerate treatment – applies to homeless people and must be embedded in what we do.

“But more than just sending a message out about the rights of people who are homeless, we need to translate it into action and use it to improve both day-to-day practice and cultural attitudes towards homeless people.”

Councillor Alex Phillips, who leads on rough sleeping for the Greens, said: “Thank you to the Brighton and Hove Housing Coalition for pushing for the bill to be recognised by our council, separately to the homelessness strategy.

“I’m so pleased that we are paving the way with this as the first council in the country to not only recognise its aspirations through a formal vote, but also to ensure that it is embedded into our day-to-day work. I very much hope other councils follow suit.”

David Thomas, from the Brighton and Hove Housing Coalition, said: “It has been a long journey since we launched the Brighton and Hove Homeless Bill of Rights in 2018 with FEANTSA and Just Fair.

“Brighton and Hove Housing Coalition are immensely proud that their city has chosen to adopt the bill of rights.

“We all have the right to be treated with dignity and equality. We hope that the adoption and the commitment behind it means that that right will become a reality for people even when they are desperate and homeless.”

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is the Green leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Chaz. Reply

    More homeless in Brighton.
    Aren’t there enough?
    This silly identity politics is backfiring.
    Brighton has been trashed by the drink and drug crowd the Greens and Momentum encourage to come here then pay for.
    It is time for the children to leave the scene and bring back the adults.
    Let us hope Jenrick brings in the heavies here like Liverpool.
    The stink is already unbelievable.

  2. Jon Reply

    The bill of rights doesn’t address the housing shortage, lack of treatment for addiction and mental health issues. I don’t know what happens when all the homeless, all over the country are evicted in the Summer when the Covid money ends.
    Maybe they’ll head for Gdansk and Barcelona

  3. Jane K Reply

    Let us judge the council by how many beggars and rough sleepers are seen in the town centre this Summer. More and they have failed.

    The councillors patting their backs and saying how kind they are and how they are sure residents want to pay more council tax to address this and inviting rough sleepers from around the country to come here is easy.

    However, what residents want is no begging in the town centre and the council to start doing its job properly as they have been given money to ensure every rough sleeper has accommodation and food.

    If they can’t get them off the streets the councillors should resign. Perhaps newspapers like this could do an independent tally of this to see the effect of this policy.

    • Jojo Goldsmith Reply

      Indeed if we see a huge rise in rough sleepers during the next year the 31 Green and Momentum Councilors that voted this through must be held accountable – the blame will be with them.

  4. Telling truth to Phelims Reply

    I feel really sorry for the people of Brighton with these green numpties in charge. Equally happy that we have been able to move to a county where independent politicians are in the majority and realise that the people who contribute to society rather than leech off it have rights too.

  5. Hove Guy Reply

    A Bill Of Rights that will be welcome news to all, alcohoilcs, drug dealers and drug addicts. We can all look forward to seeing many more beggars on our streets, some of them becoming more aggressive, as our police will be unable to control them, thanks to such crazy legislation. We can say farewell to visitors, tourists, business people, while the city (that’s a laugh for a start) becomes one huge, ugly asylum.
    I love the phrase “rough sleeping for the Greens”. If only!

  6. Greens Out Reply

    According to the Council’s own latest figures there are only nine rough sleepers in Brighton and Hove.

    But we all know how reliable this council is with figures and how frequently they tell the truth eh?

    Maybe they stated counting in Castle Square then got bored and went for a cup of tea.

  7. Francis royston morris Reply

    Sadly begging on the streets is nearly always a sign of addiction. To treat addiction takes a lot of time and money. When the big drinks industries are asked for help the stock reply is we pay plenty in taxes and they are not able to help people who don’t drink responsibly. Addiction is nothing to do with them

    • Greens Out Reply

      Because it isn’t anything to do with them.

  8. Rostrum Reply

    With Rights come Responsibilities…. What Responsibilities with they be expected to have.

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