A HOMELESS support group need votes to launch a women’s mobile night shelter bus.

Sussex Homeless Support want to transform an out-of-service bus into a warm shelter for women experiencing homelessness.

To get it off the ground they are urging people to vote for them in the Aviva Community Awards to help them do it.

Jim Deans, who runs the charity, said: “Homeless levels are increasing in Brighton and Hove but the support is decreasing.

“Alarmingly, there are more and more attacks on homeless people living on the streets and the bus will ensure there are fewer people on the streets.”

A government survey in 2017 found that 14 per cent of rough sleepers in the UK were women.

But a study by Brighton Housing Trust from the same year found that homeless women preferred to stay in ‘hidden sleep sites’ for safety, such as doorways, parks and gardens.

But in these areas they may not be picked up by rough sleeper teams who record their existence.

Mr Deans said: “This would be an exclusively women’s only bus to provide safety and refuge.

“Roughly 30 of the people who used the bus last winter were women and it is essential that vulnerable women have a safe haven, a women’s only space away from the streets.

“It is not uncommon for women who are homeless or vulnerably housed to be sexually abused, raped and manipulated into providing sex in order to survive.”

In January this year, the charity transformed a double-decker bus into Brighton’s first mobile homeless shelter with 10 beds for rough sleepers and a portable generator.

It has now been donated a new bus by Stagecoach but it still needs to be adapted to be used as a night shelter.

So, they are asking people to vote for them in the Aviva Community Fund to be in with the chance of winning £10,000.

Jim added: “We are hoping to raise this money for another homeless bus which will be a women’s only bus which will provide shelter, somewhere for homeless women to wash, and somewhere they can get warm food.

“We would love those who support our endeavours to vote for us in the Aviva Challenge or provide a direct donation for our aims.

“The charity relies solely on volunteers and this money will go towards kitting out the bus, the equipment, maintenance and running costs of the bus.”

To vote search for the Aviva Community Fund online. It offers money to local community groups with a competition basis and voting closes today.