The number of people sleeping rough and experiencing homelessness in our city has been rising, reflecting a troubling national trend.
This year’s rough sleeper review confirmed the number of rough sleepers for Brighton & Hove as 178 in the annual winter estimate. The situation is one that local organisations across the city are very aware of.
Charities and support agencies are helping homeless people every day of the year 24 hours a day. The best chance for a homeless person to get off the streets is with professional help. Outreach workers are in regular contact with people on the street, caring for their practical needs (such as food and clothing) as well as providing them with support to help rebuild their lives.
As part of the city-wide approach to rough sleeping, Make Change Count links local charities in an alternative giving and awareness raising campaign.
The campaign has three main aims:
Speaking on behalf of the Make Change Count participating organisations, Colm Keegan, Interim Head of Services, Equinox Brighton, said: “The campaign continues to raise awareness about how people can make informed decisions when giving money or other items to rough sleepers. We’re always keen to say that we’re not telling anyone how they should spend their money, that’s a matter of personal choice.
“We are sharing our experience of working with people in need and know that giving money on the street can be counter-productive. It’s a very human reaction to want to help and to hand over money when asked but this can lead to people becoming entrenched in their current situation when more effective help is available.
“A key part of the campaign is about asking people to say when they are concerned about a rough sleeper. Residents can share their concerns using the Streetlink service which provides outreach workers with the information they need to support people on our streets into accessing services to change their lives.
“We know Brighton & Hove is a caring compassionate city where people really do want to make change count.”
This year’s Make Change Count campaign sees three additional local charities join the venture which launched today (Thursday 1 February).
Donations can be made at: http://just.ly/makechangecount2018 or by texting UMCC18 £3, £5 or £10 to 70070
All money donated will be shared between the organising charities and will go directly to people sleeping rough. Contributions will be used to provide food, access to shower facilities, healthcare, clothing and support from outreach workers to move people away from the street as well as a wide range of practical help to suit individual needs. No funds raised will be used for administration of the charities.
Make Change Count is supported by Brighton and Hove City Council, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner.
Cllr Clare Moonan, lead councillor for rough sleeping, said: “We know residents care about vulnerable people on our streets and we’re building on the existing support to help provide support to those in need. The council night shelter running in the Brighton Centre this winter is one way we’re all working together to make a difference. With scarce resources and rising demand, we need to work together. The Make Change Count campaign is one way we can all make sure help goes directly to those in need. These charities are doing a fantastic job and we need to remember how much higher the number of rough sleepers would be without the dedication of all involved. Yet while there is anyone sleeping rough in the city there is still more we can and will do.”
What do to if you’re worried about someone on the streets in Brighton & Hove:
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in our city, you can use the Streetlink website to send an alert. The details you provide are sent to our local outreach service to help them find the individual and connect them to support (www.streetlink.org.uk or 0300 500 0914). Outreach workers are experienced in supporting people to move away from the streets.
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