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Mother and five children found sleeping rough in Brighton
A mother and her five children have been discovered sleeping rough in a two-man tent on Brighton seafront.
The mother and her family were discovered by police at around 8.30pm on Monday camping at well-known gay cruising spot Duke’s Mound.
Police had been alerted by members of social care charity CRI’s rough sleepers team earlier that day.
Desperate It is claimed the mother and her five children, aged between nine and 17, had travelled down to Brighton following an alleged incident of domestic abuse.
After the family were discovered they were taken to Brighton Police Station where they were given hot food before Brighton and Hove City Council social services arrived.
The family, who live outside Sussex, were then taken to temporary accommodation outside the city.
Sergeant Richard Siggs, who leads Sussex Police’s street community team in Brighton and Hove, said: “The family were in a good state, physically well and the children were jovial although the mother was upset about the situation they found themselves in.
“We have had anecdotal reports of families living on the streets but this is the first time I’ve found a family living like that.
“The temperature was pretty low down on the beach with the wind coming in. It’s a sad situation.”
Experts say the incident is extremely rare but feared that Government cuts to housing benefit could lead to more families taking desperate action in the future. Jess Taylor, head of client services at domestic abuse charity Rise, said she feared increased cuts to welfare were likely to lead to more incidents like this.
She said: “It is a desperately sad situation where people have nowhere to go. The council has an obligation to temporarily house anyone with children but in Brighton there is not the affordable housing, not even for temporary housing, out there.”
Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, said: “People are struggling with money as costs keep going up and incomes remain static and it puts incredible strain on relationships and families.”
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “Social services had no contact with this woman before.
“She claimed she had experienced domestic violence but was unable to provide evidence to show that and Sussex Police are satisfied there is no evidence of a crime being committed.
“She has no local connection to Brighton and Hove so we have suggested she should return home.”