Rough sleepers will be offered more and better protection from the elements in Brighton and Hove in the coming winter, according to an official report.
The changes follow public consultation, the report said, as extra money is put towards protecting some of the most vulnerable people in the area.
The report sets out measures being taken by Brighton and Hove City Council and others to help the homeless and those sleeping on the streets as the weather turns cold and wet.
It includes the ‘severe weather emergency provision’ (SWEP), which will have a budget of £70,000 over the winter, up from £40,000 last year.
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The increased budget reflects an expectation that emergency shelters will be open more often as a result of policy changes.
Rough sleepers will be able to stay in the emergency shelters after one night of freezing weather or ‘feels like’ freezing temperatures compared with two or three nights of freezing temperatures.
The shelters will also be opened when the Met Office issues an amber weather warning.
The report, to the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said that Brighton and Hove had the second highest number of rough sleepers in England, with 178 counted last November.
In 2010 the figure was just 14, according to the report.
It said that an online survey found that 74 per cent of the 345 respondents agreed with proposals to relax the rules about when the emergency shelters should be opened.
Emergency shelter was provided at First Base for 243 homeless people last winter and was £4,184 over budget after opening for 44 nights.
This was a dramatic increase on the 13 nights that emergency shelter was provided in 2016-17 – the previous year.
The council is still looking for a long-term space for a 17-bed homeless hub which has been awarded £495,000 funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government plus £125,000 from the council.
At the moment it is at First Base, in Montpelier Place, Brighton, but it needs another site as the emergency shelter is based there.
The homeless hub is a temporary project, the report said, with nine months of funding.
The council’s overall budget for homeless services in the current financial year is £5.4 million.
It pays for:
- 551 units of supported housing for homeless adults and people with mental health needs
- 149 units of accommodation for young people and young families
- outreach to rough sleepers
- rough sleeper day centre and severe weather provision
- homeless prevention and family mediation to young people
- financial advice and money handling services
- floating support to people in independent accommodation to help them settle into a tenancy – and crisis intervention to prevent eviction
- floating support to homeless young people in emergency accommodation or independent tenancies to prevent homelessness
- literacy, numeracy and IT skills teaching for homeless adults
- clinical psychology to support staff and service users in high support accommodation
- work and learning support for rough sleepers and those in supported accommodation
p- eer support for rough sleepers and those in supported accommodation
The Health and Wellbeing Board will be asked to note the report when it meets at Hove Town Hall next week.
The meeting is due to start at 4pm today (September 11) and will be open to the public.
Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.