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Brighton & Hove Homelessness: The Shame Of Europe

Ive been speaking to some non UK nationals about homelessness in Brighton and Hove.

Last year I met a student from Holland who was staying in Brighton and Hove for the winter to study, he was studying homelessness and rough sleepers. He spent so much time with rough sleepers observing and learning. He went back to Holland with his results which painted a realistic gloomy view of the homelessness issues in Brighton and Hove.

We know that we have 144 official rough sleepers but what about the extended community within the homeless sub-culture? these are people living in hostels, people who are now homed and left without support and therapy to fully recover.

We know that we have a very visible issue on the streets of Brighton right now, as I am writing this blog I am tucked up in bed with a horrid chest infection, warm under my duvet and only a few feet away from the kettle to make some honey and lemon hot water.

I was speaking to a rough sleeper last night, he is 19 years old. He also has a chest infection, but does not have to comforts we are privileged to have today.

He will be walking the streets all day to get warm.

He will be begging or doing criminal activities to survive.

He is slowly dying inside and at risk of assault or sexual abuse. How can this be right?

The homeless are five times more lively to attend A&E than the average Brighton and Hove resident, most die in their forties.

Check out this post worried about another young lad.

Non UK Citizens in Shock Horror at Brighton and Hove Homelessness Issue

So back to this guy, who is quite cute, he has recently arrived from Spain with an open mind as to what he will find in the the city and has taken up full time work in a restaurant working 40 hours a week. He works in the city centre and can see first hand the homelessness crisis bringing doom and gloom to the streets of Brighton.

He said “In my whole life I’ve never seen this, people sleeping on the streets, we do not have this where I am from”.

Which is something I am hearing more and more often, many of the volunteers we see helping out with grassroots groups are people from other countries in Europe, this number is increasing which is great.

He then said “There no help by the government?”

I laughed out loud and coughed everywhere with this stinking cold, as if! Since the Conservatives came into power rough sleeping has doubled.

These people who come to live in the UK from Europe, they come to learn English, they work hard, long hours and see the carnage on the streets as totally unbelievable and unnessessary.  Why? because they don’t have this, yet they have much higher unemployment levels than the UK.

It doesn’t make sense, that is until you factor in the freeze in wages, the increase in living costs and most importantly the high rents and lack of new council housing being build. We have different societies, they have cheaper food, cheaper rent and a system in Spain which helps those who have fallen to hard times.

How do we clean up the streets?

Id certainly recommend people check out the Sussex Partnership, headed up by Jim Deans and a community or volunteers those of you from across Europe or local who want to help tackle the homelessness crisis should start with him.

The Sussex Partnership feed the most homeless in the city, they can be found at the clock tower in Churchill square every Sunday, to get involved and help feed and get to know the real people behind the stigma, drop by! Check out a recent Argus article about the work done by the Sussex Partnership here.

We also have OPSafe – who do some wonderful things in the city including the Rucksack Project which provides the homeless with life saving footwear and suitable clothing to help rough sleepers warm and dry. Sometimes the people who make up the rucksacks leave little messages of inspiration for the homeless or give them creative items to keep their minds active. One of the organisers said:

“its the little things that make a real difference, the human touch”.


Their are many initiatives in Brighton and Hove designed to help the homeless, I would recommend looking for those organisations and groups who have volunteers with lived experience of homelessness. Do this as a start before, even considering some of the larger charities who get huge amounts of funding.

Homeless people have their own culture, a sub-culture within our society which is marginalised. Rough sleepers are often abused or ridiculed by those in our society who clearly demonstrate that they have no sense of compassion, but for so many people within in minority culture being left behind to die.

As recently reported the Brighton Centre to be used as homeless night shelter this winter 30 new places will make a very small difference, but the idea come from the local community originally. Brighton and Hove News reported this:

“The places at the shelter will be allocated from referrals by outreach workers from St Mungo’s and BHT (Brighton Housing Trust). The outreach workers will also offer support to those staying at the shelter, linking them to services and sources of support across Brighton and Hove.”

Talk about taking over from the little people, the establishment keeping their funding options closed to a small number of charities, who by the way have an invite only selection process if you want to get involved in their Galvanise Project. A tick box exercise designed to keep the tills ringing.

No worries the grassroots community are staying away from this project and setting up there own emergency pop up shelter, which will help 60 people sleeping with. They have no help from the council, they don’t get one of the empty buildings or funding from the council, its being entirely funded and crowdsourced by locals for all homeless.

They want to save lives, not use those lives!

Pledge Your Support For Daniel Harris In East Brighton

  

I've recently put myself forward as a potential candidate to be the next socialist Labour Party councillor in East Brighton, I am looking for support from members and locals in East Brighton and ask that you support a working class local who was raised and educated in Whitehawk, East Brighton.

I am passionate about those in our society who have the potential to be something more, yet are often overlooked and neglected. If we truly are going to move forward as a society, we first need to address the inequality issue facing many today in East Brighton.

Jobs don't pay, rents are too high. Hospital waiting lists are getting longer and Dr's surgeries and NHS Dentists are becoming harder and harder to access. We still have no secondary school in East Brighton and an unfair disadvantage for locals in the housing market, these issues all need to be resolved.

In East Brighton we have a number on Emergency Accommodation Hostels, housing vulnerable people who are living in substandard conditions, I want to clean up the housing sector in the city and plan to start in East Brighton. Locals need to know that when they are ready to move forward that there is support to achieve their goals.

With recent threats to local youth services in East Brighton, I will ensure the youth have a voice and that over 55's have places to socialise and live which are suitable for their needs.

The average age of a councillor in the city is over 50 years old, we need more younger representation. Here are a few commitments for you to see what kind of a councillor you will get with me and the Labour Party.

My commitments:
1. I will ensure national Labour Party policy is put at the heart of new council policy.

2. The voices and rights of vulnerable and minority groups will be heard, I commit to working with community groups and locals to improve public engagement in the democratic process.

3. I will be transparant with East Brighton residents and Labour Party members, its important that people feel they can access councillors for help and advice.

4. I commit to working with all councillors when in the interests of the public and party.

5. I will always be open and honest.

Its time for change and for working class people to a have a voice. A new younger generation of socialist councillors in the city and East Brighton in desperately needed, locals should feel they are represented in council. You will get that and more with me. A councillors job is not for life, we should have committed councillors who attend meetings and engage with the membership and community.

We need councillors with compassion and empathy, those who challenge the notion that this is how things have always been done, and instead look at what is right for today, 2017!

We live in a very unequal society, Brighton and Hove residents face huge challenges ahead with the introduction of Universal Credit, Rising Homelessness and High Living Costs, Food bank usage in Whitehawk has gone up 60%.

Only a Jeremy Corbyn supporting candidate with real lived experience can help the city and locals in East Brighton realise our full potential.

Thank you for your support,

Daniel Harris

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