One in 78 people homeless in Brighton and Hove as families face uncertain winter

  • Video report by Andy Dickenson

Alarming new figures have revealed that one in every 78 people in Brighton and Hove is homeless, amid fears of a "rising tide" of evictions as many families face an uncertain winter.

Nationally one in every 206 people in England is without a home, including 126,000 children, homeless charity Shelter warned.

The charity's chief executive said the figures were "shameful" and warned that "with Covid protections now gone thousands more will be joining them".

The Government says tackling homelessness is an "absolute priority" and added it has committed more than £2 billion in funding over the next three years.

Credit: PA images

Jim Deans, of Sussex Homeless Support has described the figures as a crisis and says the cold weather can prove life threatening for those living on the streets. He said, "We've just gone through, and are still going through a Covid crisis, and homeless people are worse affected than anyone.

"We're seeing brand new faces who've never been homeless in their life before, but we're also seeing people who've been homeless for a long long time back on the streets, because the facilities they've been getting support form have closed down.

"Hotels and bed and breakfasts have all gone back to dealing with members of the public and not homeless anymore. That's why there are so many people on the streets.

Jim Deans, Sussex Homeless Support

He added, "Homelessness isn't one issue, homelessness is everything from domestic violence to mental health.

"It's a massive issue - food poverty for example and for children. This is one big crisis.

"It needs a new system, where on the day you are made homeless, for whatever reason, whether you're released from prison, or you've just been kicked out because your parents have had enough of you. It makes no difference.

"You need to be dealt with by a service on the first day, because after two or three days of being on the streets you've wised up, made new so-called friends who might give you alcohol and drugs."

"Then you'll need alcohol support and drug support which you didn't need on the day you were made homeless and then this extra accommodation which you wouldn't have needed if we had triaged you on day one."

Food supplies collect by Sussex Homeless Support

Shelter said its frontline workers have been inundated with calls to its emergency helpline from people facing homelessness this winter.

The charity warned that recorded numbers are likely to be an underestimate as some types of homelessness such as sofa surfing go undocumented.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "We predicted the pandemic would trigger a rising tide of evictions and our services are starting to see the reality of this now.

"We're flooded with calls from families and people of all ages who are homeless or on the verge of losing their home. It is shameful that 274,000 people are without a home, and with Covid protections now gone thousands more will be joining them.

"A shoddy hostel room or a freezing cold doorway is no place to wake up on Christmas morning, but sadly so many people will.

"This winter the work of our frontline staff is as critical as ever. Our emergency helpline advisers work 365 days a year, doing everything they can to help people find a safe and secure home.

"By giving a little the public can help us do a lot - with their support we can keep providing support and advice to thousands of families facing homelessness this year."