Brighton charity takes over council’s street outreach service for rough sleepers

Posted On 06 Apr 2021 at 6:20 pm

A Brighton charity – Change Grow Live – has taken over running the council’s street outreach service for rough sleepers from St Mungo’s which is based in London.

Change Grow Live, formerly known as Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI), took over the service on Thursday (1 April) the day after the St Mungo’s contract ended.

Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We are grateful to St Mungo’s for all the work they have done over the last six years to help rough sleepers.

“And all involved have worked to ensure a smooth transition to the new service.

“There is no change in the way people contact the street outreach service.

“If you’re concerned about anyone sleeping rough in the city, please let us know by reporting through the Streetlink website or by calling 0300 500 0914.”

The council said that Change Grow Live (CGL) already provided a number of other services in Brighton and Hove.

The charity’s council contracts include a five-year deal worth about £20 million for the community recovery service for people with an addiction to drink and drugs.

The charity, based at Tower Point, in North Road, Brighton, and operating from Richmond House, in Richmond Road, Brighton, is due to be paid £3.325 million over seven years for the street outreach service – or £475,000 a year. St Mungo’s received about £325,000 a year.

In its latest accounts, CGL, which provides services in other parts of the country, recorded a total income of £219 million for 2019-20, up from £212.5 million in the previous year. And its operating surplus – or profit – grew from £2.2 million to £5.9 million.

The council’s tender notice for street outreach said: “The service will provide an assertive outreach model of support to rough sleepers in Brighton and Hove.

“The service will operate street shifts at least six days a week to find, identify and support people sleeping on the streets of the city.

“The service will operate rapid assessments to people newly arrived on the streets and into the city, offering a quick route away from the streets to avoid entrenchment.

“The service will support the approach and priorities of the Brighton and Hove Homeless and Rough Sleeping Strategy.

“The service will organise and run bi-monthly street counts of rough sleepers and jointly facilitate the autumn rough sleeper count or estimate with the local authority in line with homeless link guidance.

“The service will have detailed knowledge of the accommodation pathways available to rough sleepers in Brighton and Hove.

“Success will be measured by the sustained reduction of rough sleeping, in line with government targets and our local Rough Sleeping Strategy.”

CGL will be expected to establish whether rough sleepers have a “local connection” or whether they should be helped to return to another area.

Brighton and Hove City Council said last week: “The council funds the specialist outreach service to go out on the streets to help people sleeping rough.

“The street outreach team works with all rough sleepers to offer support and help them into safe, secure accommodation.

“The service also links in with other agencies across the city to provide joined up personal support.

“Support on offer during covid has led to Brighton and Hove having the largest decrease of people sleeping rough in the country outside London.

“A count carried out in November last year found 27 people sleeping rough in the city – a 69 per cent decrease on figures for November 2019.

“We carry out a street count in the city every two months. The latest was on Thursday 28 January and found the figures had dropped further, with nine people sleeping out.

“During this winter, as part of the covid response, St Mungo’s worked in the city seven days a week.

“From Thursday 1 April, street outreach work will go back to the standard service of six days a week.

“The street outreach service was recommissioned from the date the existing contract ends following standard procedure and an open procurement process.”

CGL’s Brighton and Hove mentor co-ordinator Vicky McFarlane said: “Our street outreach team is looking forward to working across Brighton and Hove as part of a city-wide effort to support the street homeless to find safe accommodation and accomplish their goals.

“Alongside this outreach service, Change Grow Live also provides drug and alcohol recovery services in Brighton and Hove, as well as a bespoke mentoring service for people who have become homeless or live in supported accommodation.

“The addition of a street outreach team will enable us to provide wraparound support for some of the hardest-to-reach people living on the streets, offering individually tailored plans to tackle a variety of complex needs including homelessness, poor mental and physical health and substance misuse issues.

“The support on offer to homeless people in Brighton and Hove during the pandemic has had a significant impact, reducing the number of people sleeping on the streets by two thirds.

“We look forward to working together with charities and organisations across Brighton and Hove to widen our reach further so that we can actively prevent people falling into homelessness and support more people to find safe, affordable routes off the streets.”

The council added: “Change Grow Live is a national charity whose mission is to help people change the direction of their lives, grow as individuals and live life to its full potential.

“Change Grow Live already operates several services in Brighton and Hove, including the substance misuse service, a residential drug treatment project and a peer mentoring service.”

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