Brighton has second largest homeless population in England

A true representation of Britain or an embarrassment?
A true representation of Britain or an embarrassment?

Brighton and Hove remains second to Westminster for rough sleeping figures, it was revealed today (January 25).

Government data for local authorities in England showed Brighton and Hove had 178 rough sleepers at its count in November, a 24 per cent rise on the previous year.

This was compared to Westminster which recorded 217 rough sleepers, Camden with 127 and Manchester with 94.

According to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, there were 4,751 rough sleepers recorded in England in 2017, up 15 per cent from the autumn 2016 total of 4,134.

It said outside of London, eight local authorities recorded increases in rough sleeping. They were: Brighton and Hove, Medway, Southend-on-Sea, Oxford, Tameside, Worthing, Salford and Eastbourne.

When the rough sleeping figures for Brighton were revealed in December, Cllr Clare Moonan, lead councillor for rough sleeping, said: “There is a national housing crisis and the local increase in rough sleeping is part of a shocking broader trend. As a council, we’re looking at how established and innovative ways can help all those in need in our city, for example by opening a night shelter in our conference centre during the winter months.”

She said each week, outreach workers are dealing with up to 30 new cases of rough sleeping.

Cllr Moonan said: “It’s a huge challenge. We’re seeing more people vulnerable people sleeping rough on our streets at a time when funding from government is being dramatically reduced, which is having an impact on services. We can’t tackle this alone so we’re linking with partners and embracing community support to see positive change.

“At the same time, there are many services already in place which are doing a fantastic job and we need to remember how much higher the number of rough sleepers would be without the dedication of all involved. Yet while there is anyone sleeping rough in the city there is still more we can and will do. The scale of the support being provided is not always apparent when looking at the sadly familiar sight of people sleeping rough.”