SUPPORT services have been given nearly £500,000 cash boost to help people move off the streets.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has awarded Brighton and Hove City Council £495,107 for the rest of the financial year 2018-19 following a bidding process.

The money will be used to help people move into shelters in the coming months before winter arrives.

The latest Government figures show there were 178 rough sleepers in the city in 2017.

This places Brighton and Hove second to Westminster.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s lead member for rough sleeping Councillor Clare Moonan said: “A lot of thought and planning went into our bid so we will be hitting the ground running on this.

“People who end up sleeping rough often have complex needs and have had to deal with very difficult circumstances in their lives.”

Last year The Argus reported 17 rough sleepers died in the city.

Cllr Moonan added: “Our focus isn’t just on getting them off the streets – it’s also on making sure they get the services they need to sustain their lives off the streets and not relapse into rough sleeping.

“Around half the city’s rough sleepers are not from Brighton and Hove.

“So there will also be more support for work helping these people reconnect with the areas they have come from so that they can get the accommodation and services they need.”

The money will improve services such as expanding the number of beds in churches that offer night shelters.

Labour MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven Lloyd Russell-Moyle said: “Congratulations to the council for securing this funding.

“The money needs to be invested wisely.

“It shouldn’t just go towards hiring people but we need to increase our infrastructure.

“We should engage in those who want to services, and have zero tolerance on those who refuse the services.”