HOMELESS charities are joining forces to encourage people who want to help rough sleepers to make sure their generosity makes a difference.

Five local charities, Brighton Housing Trust, St Mungo’s, Equinox, Nightstop and Antifreeze are encouraging people to make sure their donations go to the organisations that provide vital help for the 150 rough sleepers in the city rather than be used to fuel addictions.

Speaking at the launch of the Make Change Count initiative yesterday, Brighton Housing Trust director Andy Winter said: “We live in the most amazing city in the country where there re high levels of generosity.

“People are moved by compassion

“When they see people on the streets they want to do something about it.

“We can make a difference.

“If you are a man who is homeless your life expectancy is just 47, for women its just 43. Living on the streets is not good for you health, physically or mentally.

“The message is we want to reach the people at the best time to make a difference and engage them in services.”

Mr Winter added that the impact of the charities involved in the project had reduced the number of people on the streets of Brighton and Hove from a potential 700 to 154 to 150.

He added that the council was working hard on their election pledge to cut rough sleeping to zero by 2020.

Councillor Clare Moonan is the lead councillor for rough sleeping.

She said: “The Make Change Count campaign can transform and, even save, the lives of those rough sleeping on our streets.”

St Mungo’s outreach worker Samira Mower said she hoped the initiative would help by making people aware of the services they offer. She said: “At the very least people need to know what help there is out there that they can support.

“From our point of view if it can help people engage more with services, and bring them in to the day centres rather than keeping them locked into being homeless, then that’s got to be a good thing. “

To donate text UMCC17 £3 to 70070.