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Brighton Housing Trust gets £9m to help homeless people
Rehabilitated sufferers of abuse, addiction and homelessness are helping a charity come up with ways to put a £9.2 million grant to good use.
Brighton Housing Trust has been consulting with people who have come through addiction and homelessness to help mould their new strategies and spend the Big Lottery Fund cash.
Kevin O'Keefe, 43, suffered from alcoholism and was on the verge of homelessness before he entered a detox programme with the BHT.
Mr O'Keefe said: “I was about to lose my job, my home and my relationships so I went and asked for help.”
After spending ten months in residential rehab, Mr O'Keefe is now one of many former service users who consult with the BHT in developing new strategies to help deal with those suffering from the same problems he did.
With their new funding the BHT plans to make the system fit the individual and make sure that the most vulnerable people do not fall through gaps in care.
Nikki Homewood, BHT's executive director of homelessness and complex needs said: "This funding will enable a network of agencies across Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings to work together with service users to develop new way's of working with people.”
“The South East Regional Partnership will focus on those people who, due to the complexity of their multiple needs, are unable to access existing services well, or at all.”
The funding will be distributed over eight years across Brighton and Hove, Hastings and Eastbourne with plans for specialist teams to help the vulnerable in each city.
The BHT also plans to have a rapid response fund to offer emergency shelter, clothing and food.
Brighton has been described as a homeless hot spot and homeless charity CRI has recorded a year on year increase in the number of rough sleepers in the city - from 588 in 2010/11 to 1163 in 2012/13.
Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England chair, said: “This investment will end the revolving door of care for these vulnerable people and rather than being drains on society will allow them to become assets that benefit their communities and society as a whole.”
The most recent investment comes as part of £18.3 million that was invested by the National Lottery in Brighton and Hove last year spanning 203 different grants.