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| November 21, 2018

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Galvanise: How Brighton Can Help the Homeless

Galvanise: How Brighton Can Help the Homeless
Georgia Kolakowski

In our city of 507,000 people, one in 69 is homeless. Galvanise Brighton & Hove is on an ambitious campaign aiming to end street homelessness by 2020, in accordance to the Council’s own plan. Chronic homelessness is a cycle that starts and ends with access to the necessary support networks. Galvanise are pushing this message home by engaging a wider group of people to find and resource innovative housing solutions. The long-term aim and hope of the project is to ensure that homeless people have housing that is permanent, safe and affordable with the right kind of support to sustain and encourage getting off the street.

The campaign is supported and backed by YMCA Downslink Group, Brighton YMCA, St. Mungo’s, The Passage, Fulfilling Lives and Brighton and Hove City Council. Galvanise are to meet on Tuesday evening invoking the next phase of their project. ‘The Innovation Event’ will take place from 5:30pm in the Paganini Ballroom of The Old Ship Hotel. Galvanise have invited local landlords, social housing providers, property developers, investors, voluntary agencies as well as members of the general public and business and corporate sector workers.

You only have to walk down a street in the North Laine to recognise the issue with homelessness. A sentiment and mentality often forgotten is that they, the homeless people, are not the problem but it is instead a systemic issue that causes so many people to be out on the streets. At the end of 2017, Galvanise went out on to the streets of Brighton to talk and gain the perspective of the people in this position, one said they felt “faceless. I have been in tears when people speak to me like a human being”. If you put yourself into the place of these people who have been let down so greatly by the rigid infrastructures of our country, who get ignored by members of the public, who have to quite literally beg to get enough money for access to food and water and shelter; the severity of the issue may begin to sink in.

‘The Innovation Event’ is about bringing together the local community and homelessness sector to have a proper discussion on housing solutions in Brighton and Hove and furthermore, to match ideas with resources. The homeless people that Galvanise talked to last year were asked questions about their lives, hopes and aspirations to fully ensure that the views and ideas are in line with what is needed. The findings were in line with national trends but act as a stark reminder of the many, many circumstances that lead to homelessness. They found that 15% were in paid employment, 22% had been a child in care, 58% were homeless due to a traumatic experiences such as domestic violence and 22% reported that they are pressured or forced to do things on the street that they do not want to do.

This operation is part of the wider ‘European Campaign to End Street Homelessness’ coordinated by World Habitat. The wider project is currently operating in 10 European cities affected by significantly high numbers of homelessness and has seen over 1000 volunteers survey rough sleepers. Galvanise and the wider campaign lay testament to the fact that with the help of your local community¬†and¬†the help of local organisations homelessness is an issue that can be tackled.

If you are interested in helping the people within our community who have otherwise been neglected, sign up to ‘The Innovation Event’ here.

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