In 2015, compared to 2014:
- Homelessness in the UK rose by 6%
- Rough sleeping increased by 30%
- Bed-and-breakfast use was 20% higher
These figures are shocking, but what do they really tell us? Not that it was ok in 2014 and now it is bad. It was terrible in 2014 and it is terrible in 2015, just that it is more terrible.
A percentage figure can hide the human suffering at the heart of the rough sleeping crisis we face in Brighton and Hove. Behind the numbers, the percentages and trends are ordinary people with fears and loss, with hopes and aspirations.
Yesterday I met the people behind Invisible Voices. Invisible Voices is a Brighton Fringe Project run by Seagull’s Wing, a local community group. The aim of the project is to give a voice to those who are homeless or are in recovery, as well as raising awareness among the general public. Accompanying the Fringe Event is a book of stories, poems and factual information giving insight into how people end up becoming homeless and what it is really like. They say: “At a time when vulnerable members of society are facing cuts to the vital services that help them, it is even more important to give them a voice and help them stay off the streets (and in some cases complete their recovery).”
Read more about Invisible Voices on their Crowd Funder website, and visit the Cascade Recovery Cafe in Baker Street on any Saturday during the Brighton Festival to see their work and hear about the situation of homeless people find themselves in in Brighton and Hove. And please, buy their book (with the proceeds being share between Cascade Recovery Cafe and BHT’s First Base Day Centre).