AN investigation has revealed a tragic list of homeless people’s deaths.

It details a deadly mix of drugs, mental health issues and lack of support for some of Brighton’s most vulnerable.

The 24 deaths – not a complete total of those who have lost their lives – provides a snapshot into the bleak prospects facing those living on the streets.

It is hoped the information can be used to prevent further deaths.

The people included are without a permanent home and were either placed in temporary or emergency accommodation, living rough or placed in a homeless hostel.

The Argus:

Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, said each one was a “tragedy” and most were “totally avoidable”.

He said: “What we have is not an issue of homelessness and rough sleeping, but an issue of addiction.

“It brings home to me, yet again, that if we want to address homelessness, we have to address addictions.”

Mr Winter, who has been helping with frontline services to the city’s homeless since 1985, has emphasised the need for supported housing.

This is where dedicated support and care services are provided along with housing, which can protect those with problems of substance misuse.

The Argus: Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing TrustAndy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust

Mr Winter said: “It is not enough just to put someone in accommodation where they have multiple complex needs.

“I can understand why people just want people off the streets, but we rarely see people dying while they’re rough sleeping.

“In fact, sometimes unsupported accommodation can be less safe than being on the streets as people can be seen having an overdose in the streets. But someone in unsupported accommodation might not be discovered at all.”

Mr Winter’s charity Brighton Housing Trust has run a 52-bed supported accommodation called the Phase One Project in Oriental Place, Brighton, for nearly two decades.

There were three deaths in a year before it took over but there have only been three deaths since.

Jim Deans, a campaigner against homelessness, has also taken aim at accommodation in the city.

The Argus: Campaigner against homelessness Jim DeansCampaigner against homelessness Jim Deans

He believes people are being “dumped in ghettos” without proper support.

With his charity Sussex Homeless Support he visits buildings housing people in emergency and temporary accommodation to provide food and support.

He said: “By putting people with issues in the same housing together, you’re creating a ghetto.

“You’ve got drug dealers going round to these places and beeping the horn like an ice cream van does.

“They know that someone’s going to come down and get it.

“The only way you’re going to help these people is by surrounding them with people who bring them up, not bring them down.”

It is hoped the information into the 26 deaths can help identify patterns and investigate ways of protecting the city’s vulnerable.

Maeve McClenaghan, from the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, compiled the Brighton and Hove list, along with another 800 names across the country.

Her project, which has been going for more than a year, was started after she realised no authority was holding the data.

Ms McClenaghan, who said the figures were an underestimate, said: “These deaths should go reported and logged. It’s been powerful to notice the patterns that are happing.

“These are 800 people with lives hopes and dreams and in many cases we see a tragic failing where an intervention could have happened but they slipped through the gaps.”

But lead city councillor for rough sleeping Clare Moonan said: “We do not accept that we’re failing homeless people.

“Every death of a homeless person is a tragedy. That’s why we provide some of the best services in the country for rough sleepers, and are committed to supporting anyone registered here as homeless under national legislation.

“There is an acute shortage of affordable accommodation in the city. At the same time, recent data shows nearly two thirds of rough sleepers currently in the city have come here from elsewhere.

“We would always advise people with homelessness issues to seek support in the first instance in areas where they have a local connection. We very much agree that supported accommodation can be valuable in helping vulnerable people address the issues they face.

“We’ve put additional welfare staff in place to support people in emergency accommodation to address some of the issues raised.

“In addition to the £5 million we already spend on supported accommodation, we have just approved additional funding of £200,000 for two years to help us deliver an extra 20 units of supported accommodation.

"Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping is a top priority for us, and we have made significant progress since 2017.”