8 December 2017
Figures released today (Friday 8th December) from Brighton and Hove City Council have shown an increase in the number of people living on the streets –with 178 people sleeping rough compared to 144 last year, a rise of twenty-four percent.
Green Councillors have expressed deep concern for those sleeping on the streets, calling for bolder action on the housing crisis to prevent the causes of homelessness and help those sleeping rough.
Green Councillor Tom Druitt, whose proposal to open more night shelters in the city received backing at Full Council in January, commented:
“This latest rise rough sleepers is deeply worrying but sadly, given the context, comes as no surprise. In the face of years of austerity, rents rising faster than wages, ‘right to buy’ reducing housing stock and punitive benefit changes such as removing housing benefit entitlement, people are left struggling to maintain a home. This situation is unacceptable. So too is the Conservative Government’s continued refusal to lift the borrowing cap so that Councils can build more homes, and their pursuit of universal credit, which reports show has already plunged more people into risk of eviction.
“We acknowledge the Labour Council has a huge job on its hands, but the problems are evolving faster than the solutions they provide. The only material change in the amount of sheltered accommodation in the city is a result of a Green proposal to open empty council buildings as shelters. This will protect more people from the harsh winter, but more must be done to tackle the causes of homelessness.
‘One of the very few things that was in Labour’s manifesto was to reduce levels of rough sleeping but this commitment is in tatters. We hope that the Council will join Greens in making the call for stronger regulation of the housing market, truly affordable rents, and back our appeal for Council-owned emergency accommodation. Behind these figures are people – people without even the most basic security of a roof over their heads and a place to call home – and we must do all we can to prevent this.”
A Green proposal to open new night shelters to accommodate the rising number of people forced to sleep on the streets saw the Brighton Centre identified as a new location for a homeless shelter last month.