Hundreds more rough sleepers are being predicted for the city over the coming years with one housing charity warning of a “homelessness timebomb.”

The news comes as councillors and charity bosses called for more rough sleepers with no links to Brighton to be sent back to where they came from.

A new report states fewer than four in ten of the city’s homeless are from the area and Brighton and Hove City Council is consulting on its rough sleeping strategy, which aims to make sure no-one has to sleep rough here by 2020.

The report states in 2014/15 street services dealt with 775 people and reported a six per cent increase in cases on the previous year. A snapshot counted 78 rough sleepers on a single night in November.

It states: “We are concerned that numbers could increase further over the next year.”

National policy changes, including benefit caps and changes to disability living allowance, allied to rising property prices locally, are predicted to increase the number of people unable to sustain their accommodation in the coming year, placing them at increased risk of homelessness.

Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton and Hove Housing Trust (BHT), pointed out that changes announced in the Autumn Statement would make things much worse.

He said: “Brighton and Hove is facing a timebomb with a large number of specialist supported projects becoming non-viable.”

His analysis concludes that 435 of of BHT’s 623 homes would become unaffordable for under-35s once the new rules, capping social rents to housing benefit levels in the private sector, come into force in 2018.

The council’s report also concluded that only 39 per cent of rough sleeping cases involved people with a local connection to Brighton and Hove.

A quarter are from London and the wider South East and 19 per cent have come from overseas.

In 2014 The Argus reported that London charities had given rough sleepers one-way tickets to Brighton if they claimed they had a connection to the city.

Housing charity BHT, street charity St Mungo’s and the council all agreed that the city should return incoming homeless to their points of origin where possible,

Andy Winter said: “We need to focus on getting these people out of Brighton as quickly as possible.

“We should care about people on the streets and the way we care is by helping them go to where they came from.”

David Walton, regional head for South East London and Sussex for St Mungo’s, said: “Where someone is unable to access services in Brighton and Hove and we’re seeking to reconnect them to an area where they can access services and not have to sleep rough that’s what we should be doing.”

Councillor Clare Moonan, the council lead on homelessness, said: “The best networks of friends and families which will help people move away from the streets may be where people have grown-up or lived for some time.

“In those circumstances we try to provide the way home by linking up with the relevant local authority.”

But when The Argus took to the streets to ask rough sleepers their opinions, 20-year-old Dallas Harker told our reporter that the policy was misguided.

She said: “Some people have moved because of domestic violence, drugs and many other reasons.

“Most of the people on the streets either haven’t got families or don’t want to know them.

“I’m staying put in Brighton because I like it and I want to make it my home.”

Tributes to the three rough sleepers whose deaths over the new year were exclusively revealed in The Argus still adorn the clock tower in the centre of the city.

Residents keen to help the homeless on Brighton’s streets are encouraged to use the Streetlink service to connect rough sleepers to key agencies, by going to or calling 0300 500 0914.



The Argus: Dallas Harker is among those who are currently homeless in Brighton

DALLAS HARKER grips a cup of hot coffee in her gloved hands – but she is still shaking with the cold.

The 20-year-old has been sleeping rough in Brighton for three months since travelling down here to escape personal problems.

She has been homeless since she was 17, having grown up in care.

Passers-by who might usually pay little attention to the homeless are forced into a double-take when they see her.

Dallas said: “I get asked a lot how old I am. I have been homeless now for nearly four years. I do struggle.”

She said the issues of being young and a female have made her experience worse.

Dallas spent the previous night – the coldest of the year so far – down by Brighton Marina.

When she spoke to The Argus, she was still working out where her bed was going to be last night.

The council and homeless services locally have set out an aim to relocate rough sleepers to areas where they already have friends, family and support connections – away from Brighton. 

As well-meaning as it seems, Dallas said the plan does not take into consideration people who have to move away from areas for good reasons. 

She said: “Some people have moved because of domestic violence, drugs and many other reasons. Most of the people on the streets either haven’t got families or don’t want to know them.

“I have my own circumstances which mean I can’t go home. I’m staying put in Brighton because I like it and I want to make it my home.”

Dallas grew up in North London before spells in Essex and Manchester. She said: “I thought Brighton would be completely different and less hassle but it’s not. 

“The authorities need to find out why the majority of people are on the street in the first place.

“They are helping refugees but not us. We need to sort out the homeless people we have already.

“The general public are amazing. If it wasn’t for them none of us would survive.”

The plight of homeless people in Brighton and Hove has been highlighted through the creation of a shrine at the Clock Tower in North Street.

It details the deaths of several homeless people over the Christmas and New Year period.

As exclusively revealed in The Argus on Saturday, January 9, ahead of a public vigil that evening, they include Lesley “Gareth” Raymond, a woman called Caroline who used to live with him in front of Waitrose in Western Road, Brighton, and a man called Casey.

Casey, also spelt Kacey on tributes at the Clock Tower, was widely known as the man who used to wear a Despicable Me onesie. He also gained the nickname Taffy-One-Penny because of the amount he would beg for.

Casey was in his 40s when he died. The average age of someone who dies on the streets is 47.

Sitting at the memorial was Andy Jones, 42, also known as Taffy, who remembered Casey.

“He was Welsh like me, and so was ‘Gareth’. There were three Taffys and now I’m the only one left.”

Other names in tributes included Bill (also known as Grandad) and two people called Jamie and Jason, believed to be 26-year-old twin brothers.

George Barnett, 39, who used to make pebble sculptures on Brighton beach, was remembered with pebbles at the Clock Tower.

The Argus reported in March last year that Mr Barnett, also known as Dr Geebers The Pebble Man, or just Gee, died after jumping from the Palace Pier. Acquaintances have said he filled a rucksack with stones before he jumped.

Figures at the Clock Tower documenting the many homeless people to have died in the city over the past year are yet to be confirmed.

Evette Caplan, 33, who lives in Bath Street, Brighton, saw the tributes while passing.

She said: “I used to see Gareth every time I walked by. He was really lovely. A friend of mine told me he had died – it’s so sad. I think they need to be opening more shelters in Brighton.”

Meanwhile, Dallas echoed the sentiments of other homeless people, who claim there is enough empty property in Brighton to house them if only the will was there to make it happen.

According to Shelter, councils approached for help by rough sleepers must look into homelessness applications and then decide if they have to provide accommodation depending on whether they have a local connection. It is an issue the authorities are still getting to grips with while fearing the number of homeless people will rise.

Local connection or not, people such as Dallas want to call Brighton their home.

Additional reporting by Ellen Shipton



he Argus asked Cllr Clare Moonan, Brighton and Hove City Council's lead on homelessness, to explain the city's plans to improve life for rough sleepers.

For reasons of space her responses could not be printed in full in our paper edition of Wednesday January 20. Click here for the Full Q&A on homelessness with Cllr Moonan.