FIVE charities at the heart of supporting homeless people in Brighton and Hove have joined forces to encourage people not to give cash to those on the streets but to donate to the organisations instead.

Reporter EMILY WALKER speaks to three men about the terrifying reality of day-to-day life of sleeping rough.

LIVING on the streets of Brighton and Hove is a harsh and horrible existence.

Rough sleepers face violent attacks, arrest and shame as well as their own entrenched medical, mental and addiction problems.

Their lives are vastly improved by the help they receive from Brighton Housing Trust, St Mungo’s, Pavilion, Antifreeze and Equinox, the city’s five main homelessness charities.

But the support is a revolving door as the street sleepers move in and out of temporary housing, seek rehabilitation and fall off the wagon.

Even those who have spent almost 20 years on the streets told of the terror they feel each night.

Adrian Dunkley, Les Redmond and Steven Gander are among 126 men and l8 women living on the city’s streets according to the latest count in November. That is double the previous year.

But despite the generosity of Brighton and Hove’s citizens, who all too often put their hands in their pockets to help out, the charities say their support is misguided.

All three men The Argus spoke too said that money given to them by people on the streets had helped them fund drink or drugs in one way or another. All three agreed their situations would be worse without the help of the charities.

Scott Crossley, a team leader for the drug and alcohol services at Equinox, said: “There are amazing services in Brighton and Hove that rough sleepers can access but that is not to say it is not a brutal and horrible lifestyle.”

Scott, who suffered from substance misuse problems in his past, is an inspiration to the men he helps in Norfolk Square.

For heroin addict Mr Dunkley he’s a glimmer of hope.

“I can see what he has been able to do so it gives me hope.”

Simon Hughes, senior manager of support services at Brighton Housing Trust, said: “The availability of accessible affordable accommodation is incredibly difficult. We are starting to see people who are working and rough sleeping. That brings a whole new range of issues.”


TACKLING the issue of homelessness in Brighton and Hove is a thorny issue with no clear solution.

For decades the problem has escalated.

Now Brighton Housing Trust is seeing even those who have jobs forced into rough sleeping because of the dire shortage of housing.

But despite various different good causes trying to help as part of the Make Change Count campaign, they say they are not competing against each other and want the people of the city – both housed and homeless – to know what help is out there.

Nightstop puts young people into volunteers’ spare rooms to prevent them developing the entrenched problems people suffer on the streets.

Service manager Pippa Green said: “The streets are not a safe place for a young person to be.

“There is so much sexual violence and physical violence and entrenched behaviour in the street community.

“The sooner they come into contact with that the harder it will be to get them back.

“These young people have predominately suffered family breakdown.

“There are a lot of step families and a lot of 18-year-olds find they are kicked out of home through no fault of their own.

“To go straight from that to the streets is such a difference.

“So placing them in people’s spare rooms with someone who can give them a bit of emotional support too is much more like being part of a family.”

The drug and alcohol team at Equinox offers rehabilitation services to help tackle one of the most debilitating problems of people living on the streets.

The staff, made up of ex-service users, hope to get around the problem so often funded by people giving change to rough sleepers.

Team leader Scott Crossley said: “We are not telling people who to give their money to but making sure there are the right services they can donate to if they know about them.”

To donate to homeless services in Brighton and Hove text UMCC17 and the amount to 70070.