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Brighton Journal | August 18, 2019

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Brighton council to discuss increasing support for those in temporary and emergency housing

Brighton council to discuss increasing support for those in temporary and emergency housing
Hannah Midgley

Brighton and Hove City Council has emerged new plans to discuss introducing extra support for people in emergency and temporary housing.

New measures will be considered at the Housing & New Homes Committee next week, with around 1,700 households currently living in these conditions around the city.

Brighton council estimates around 400 households remain in emergency accommodation, with around 125 of those in accommodation outside the city

Councillor Anne Meadows, chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, said: “We are seeing a rising level of complex issues in people being made homeless, and without support in place, many are finding it difficult to manage their accommodation.

The recommended support involves setting the service up for one year at first while looking at alternative options for increasing long term support.

Cllr Meadows also said: “We have listened to concerns about the gaps in the service and believe increasing the level of support for households in emergency and temporary accommodation will help residents.”

The increased “level of support” for families and individuals in emergency housing will be based on what worked well in the council’s previous housing support service, which came to an end in 2015.

Councillor Anne Meadows with the residents of Hobby Place © BHCC

The council told Brighton Journal the decision to cut the housing support service in 2015 was made to deliver necessary budget savings based on service demand at the time.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The proposal to introduce a new support service comes in response to the increasing levels of multiple and complex needs experienced by people becoming homeless in the city.”

When asked why support for those temporary and emergency accommodation has been allowed to decline, a spokesperson for the council claimed these factors were “outside the council’s control“.

The council also explained what circimstances they believed to be increasing levels of “complex” needs which are causing people to become homeless:

“More homeless people we are seeing have complex issues, including substance misuse and mental health issues, and they find it difficult to manage and sustain general needs emergency accommodation.”

Emergency housing provided by the council can range from a bed and breakfast, a homeless hostel, or a self-contained rented flat or house.

A person made homeless would qualify for emergency housing if the council has reason to believe you are homeless now or have a priority need for housing.

Since launching their Early Intervention Service, providing support to anyone experiencing difficulty with their tenancy and at risk, the council has reportedly helped over 260 families avoid becoming homeless.

The service began in 2017, of which 70% of these were ‘priority need’ cases who would otherwise have need to be placed into temporary accommodation. 

If the proposal is agreed, it will go to the Policy, Resources & Growth committee Budget meeting on 14 February for the final approval.

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