Brighton has a homeless crisis
A SHELTER for rough sleepers will alleviate pressure on the city’s biggest homeless charity, according to the council.
The shelter at the Brighton Centre opened on Sunday, and outreach workers have invited 30 members of the city’s homeless community to stay throughout the winter months.
So far they have had 12 people in the accommodation, with numbers expected to grow.
However, due to the extreme weather conditions in recent days, many rough sleepers have opted to stay at the severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) accommodation supplied by Brighton Housing Trust (BHT).
This means experienced staff have to help provide the service, which Brighton and Hove City Council says has put a strain on BHT.
A council spokeswoman said: “BHT run the SWEP severe weather emergency protocol shelter for the council.
“The SWEP has been running every night the Brighton Centre shelter has been open so far.
“The SWEP needs experienced staff from BHT and elsewhere, taking much resource over recent days.
“Running SWEP for days at a time creates pressures for the daytime services and BHT will be experiencing this.
“As such, the separate Brighton Centre night shelter is unlikely to have alleviated any pressure on BHT in its first days of opening.
“In the long term, providing shelter for 30 people is going to make a difference and will positively contribute to the broad support offered at this time of year to help rough sleepers.”
Many rough sleepers also go to BHT accommodation because they are more familiar with it.
The council spokeswoman said: “The SWEP is open to anyone to go along to when triggered by severe weather.
“Many people are currently going to the SWEP shelter which they are more familiar with.
“On Monday night, 12 people took shelter at the Brighton Centre and we are confident this number will rise rapidly.
“Food is being supplied and volunteers set up the shelter before it opened on the first day.”
Last month The Argus reported that Brighton and Hove has the highest homelessness rate in the country outside of London, while food bank usage is up more than 60 per cent in the past year.
Plans for the shelter at the Brighton Centre was confirmed last month, and the council will also explore other places where rough sleepers can stay during the coming months. The accommodation will be available until February 11.
Source: The Argus