(The Brighton Argus Opinion Column on 31st March 2016 highlighted the situation regarding street homelessness in Brighton and Hove. It had one factual error regarding BHT which I have tried to correct in the letter below, sent to the Argus)
I’m really pleased that Mary Daley used her Opinion column to highlight the problems of homelessness in Brighton and Hove. The situation, as she highlights, has been exacerbated by the unrelenting rise in housing costs both for home ownership and in the private rented sector.
May I correct one factual error in her piece? It is not Brighton Housing Trust that the City Council has commissioned to end rough sleeping by 2019 but the excellent London based charity, St Mungo’s Broadway. It is a common misconception that BHT provides street outreach work to rough sleepers. BHT provides First Base Day Centre, the hub from which much work with street homeless people happens. We would have loved to have provided the outreach service but it wasn’t to be.
First Base provides food, clothes, showers, medical attention and, critically, a range of services that help people to move off the street, into accommodation and employment.
BHT remains very committed to seeing an end to rough sleeping by the end of the decade. However, I am growing increasingly pessimistic whether this can be achieved. I feel the numbers will continue to increase but hope to be proved wrong.
BHT and First Base will continue to play its part, but we need support from members of the public who are concerned about the number of people on the streets. We need to raise £148,000 for the day centre to break even next year and to achieve this we do require the support of the general public. Donations, payable to ‘BHT’ can be sent to me at 144 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4PH or made online.