THE NUMBER of people sleeping on the streets of Brighton and Hove has fallen to its lowest total in ten years, according to the City Council’s housing committee.
At the end of January, the committee counted only nine verified rough sleepers in the city, a 90% decrease on the same figure from November 2019.
It is the third largest decrease by any region in the UK, and the highest by a local authority outside of London.
Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones, chair of the housing committee, said she was “delighted” with these figures at a meeting on Wednesday, 17 March.
“Importantly, for the first time in over 10 years, we are out of the top 10 local authorities with the highest number of rough sleepers,” she said.
“As the pandemic worsens, we are seeing a worrying increase in new rough sleepers, but to date we are absorbing the demand.”
At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the Government began the “Everyone In” scheme, asking local authorities to provide emergency accommodation for all rough sleepers and banning the eviction of tenants and homeowners until 31 May 2021.
Because of this, the Brighton and Hove City Council have been able to provide emergency accommodation for more than 400 homeless people.
Many, like Councillor Peter Atkinson, believe that the council need to work closely with private landlords over the coming months to prevent this number from rising once the scheme ends.
He told Overtime News: “What really worries me is that come the end of May, when the eviction ban ends, we’ll see a significant increase in the number of rough sleepers in the city.”