The number of people sleeping on the streets of Brighton and Hove is on the increase.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s latest official multi-agency estimate announced yesterday (April 15) it has seen the number of rough sleepers increase by 15% in six months.

Homeless charities put the increase down to a range of pressures including unemployment, welfare reforms, relationship breakdowns, rising house prices and a loss of affordable housing.

The estimate figure of 90 people is based on the number of rough sleepers accessing services on March 21 and is agreed by all the agencies to avoid double-counting homeless people using more than one service.

It is an increase on the 76 reported in November, although this figure was disputed by homeless charities who considered the actual figure to be almost 40% higher.

The figure is separate from the annual official street count of 43 that took place in November, giving a snapshot of the number of people actually found rough sleeping on one particular night.

Brighton and Hove City Council said the new estimate figure of 90 is seen as providing the most accurate figure possible of the number of people rough sleeping and will inform the council’s work with partners to tackle the increasing numbers.

Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, said changes in local housing allowance were now forcing some people onto the streets.

Mr Winter said that Brighton and Hove City Council deserved praise for protecting funding for services where other authorities had decommissioned all services and closed down hostels.

He added: “It usually takes about 12 months before you really begin to become obvious as people find a way to get by at first before getting into rent arrears and then getting evicted.”

'Additional funding'

Councillor Liz Wakefield, chair of the council’s housing committee, said: “We have provided additional funding to services working with rough sleepers in order to meet the pressures on services.

“There has been a particular focus on targeting street drinkers, people with complex and multiple needs and rough sleepers who have repeatedly been unable to sustain accommodation.

“We will continue work with local agencies that provide support, accommodation and relocation options to vulnerable rough sleepers in the city.”

Anyone who thinks they may be at risk of becoming homeless should contact the council’s housing options team on 01273 294400.

Anyone homeless or wish to make outreach teams aware of a homeless person can contact 0808 1680414 or email

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