With the news that on in 69 people living in Brighton and Hove are either homeless or in a uncertain and unstable housing situation, and conflicting advice on how you, as an individual, should be responding to the violent rise in rough sleeping that materialise these desperate and depressing figures, I’m sure many of you will be wondering what you can do to in Brighton and Hove to help alleviate the suffering of those individuals who find themselves in a very thought situation this winter. Luckily, there are lots of wonderful people and organisations who are dedicated to improving the situation of Brighton’s vulnerable and insecure rough sleepers, and the council has developed a strategy that starts with help from you.
There are more than 1,000 people sleeping rough in Brighton & Hove every year. Around a third of these have been seen before, with new people needing support every week.
The council’s vision is to make sure no-one has the need to sleep rough in Brighton & Hove by 2020. They want to build on existing support and work with partners to see an effective city-wide approach for the future. With scarce resources and rising demand, the council need to work together to help those in need.
Anyone can become homeless, and sleeping rough can be dangerous and can damage your health. The longer someone sleeps rough, the greater the risk that they will become trapped on the streets and vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime, developing drug or alcohol problems, or experiencing problems with their health.
Rough sleepers may not be known to local services because they remain out of sight, bedding down at different times of day or night, and moving from place to place. Not all rough sleepers are aware that advice and support is available to them.
StreetLink are a service that enables the public to alert local authorities in England and Wales about rough sleepers in their area. They aim to offer the public a means to act when they see someone sleeping rough, and provide the first step someone can take to ensure people sleeping rough are connected to the local services and support available to them.
There are a few dedicated charities in Brighton and Hove that are also able to help with any issues you may notice, or hear about when speaking with rough sleepers in your area. We have listed a few of them below in case you have anything you can offer to help fight the problem and be a part of the solution to street homelessness in Brighton and Hove:
The Clock Tower Sanctuary supports homeless young people in the city. Volunteers help deliver their services, including information and advice to young people who are homeless and insecurely housed.
St Anne’s Day Centre offers a warm, safe and friendly environment where people are made to feel welcome and have a chance to eat, relax and socialise. Their volunteers help prepare and serve meals, along with playing games and talking to their clients.
Safehaven welcomes and supports vulnerable men and women in Brighton & Hove. Safehaven likes to meet volunteers to identify their passions and skills before they help out.
Love Activists provide free hot food and hot drinks for those in need every Sunday at the Clocktower. This is a great organisation that deeply cares about those individuals in need of help.
Brighton Homelessness Action are a great organisation full of amazing people who take direct actions to help those who are without a home. Providing useful links for practical help. Providing useful equipment to those living on the street where possible. Support their crowd-funderto help them provide rugh-sleepers with winter survival kits!
You can make a text donation of £3 to the ‘Make Change Count’ campaign by texting UMCC17 £3 to the number 70070
The latest stage of the Make Change Count campaign, builds on an initial collaboration last year. Charities are continuing to work together to raise awareness about what support is available in the city for people sleeping rough and offering advice on how best to help.
Five local charities are addressing this national issue at a local level. Brighton Housing Trust, St Mungo’s, Equinox, Nightstop and Antifreeze are highlighting the practical support available all year round in the city and how best to help rough sleepers. The campaign is supported Brighton & Hove City Council and Sussex Police.
The participating charities say that giving money on the street can be counter-productive and lead to people staying in their current situation when more effective help is available. Local organisations make sure those in need have hot meals, access to shower facilities, clothing and support from outreach workers to move people away from the street to rebuild their lives.
Much debate has been had recently about the best way to help homeless individuals that you may come across in your local area. Vehement voices from within and without the rough sleeping community say that small cash offerings only exacerbate problems, not being enough to meaningfully help an individual out of their situation, and only enough to provide a bit of short term comfort and relief. But similarly a debate is to be had towards whether denying a homeless individual even the basic choice as to what to do with the little money they have is the right thing to do. In all the confusion, maybe it is best to support the experts, and let them do what they do best…