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THE city’s growing homeless population says it is being let down by the authorities.
On Friday, the Argus revealed that rough sleeping in the city had gone up by a quarter in a single year.
Now the people behind the figures have spoken out about their neglect at the hands of local and central government.
“It just seems nothing gets done,” said John Carey, 36, who became homeless after losing his volunteer position with the Salvation Army in the city.
“The council has shot itself in the foot by banning people from parks, because it forces more people into the town centre and makes Brighton look bad.
“People coming in from outside puts more pressure on the services.”
For the past year, Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) have prevented anyone from squatting on the seafront, as well as in eleven parks across the city.
Figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures showed Brighton and Hove to be the worst city outside London for rough sleeping – but they did not take into account those reduced to couch surfing.
“I think the government statistics are underestimating the problem,” Mr Carey, originally from Glasgow, said.
“They don’t see the whole picture, which is that some people go into hiding.”
Many of the rough sleepers blamed their plight on a serious housing shortage.
Councillor Clare Moonan acknowledged last week that the city was in the grip of a “housing crisis”.
But The Argus also heard some hostels were in such poor condition that it was preferable to sleep in the street.
Ed Willis, 27, a rough sleeper on St James’s Street, said: “It’s got to the point where I’d rather die on the street than live in a hostel.
“I can’t even live in my home town.
“I sit here with a razor blade cutting myself and people just walk past. How much does one person have to suffer for people to care?
“I blame everyone in authority – even the Queen.”
He said the main reason homelessness is on the rise in the city is that rough sleepers are increasingly moving to Brighton from other cities.
Of those spoken to, two were from Blackburn, one from Newcastle and another from Glasgow.
One said the warmer weather was a factor.
Source: The Argus