THE homeless issue is spreading with many rough sleepers now moving beyond the boundaries of the centre to find new places to sleep and, in some cases, pitches where they can beg.

Portslade, just beyond the boundary of Hove where there has also been a significant increase, is one of the areas now affected.

One shop owner who asked not to be named said the homelessness problem in Portslade was now “beyond control” with a visible “increase in the area”.

He also expressed concerns about it “getting in the way” of his business.

Matthew Konen, who runs the Athena B Fish Bar in Boundary Road, Portslade, has been feeding the homeless for nothing.

He said he was “happy to help if the Government is failing to do enough”.

He does not think the increasing number of rough sleepers affects his business and said: “It is the highlight of my day to feed a homeless person.”

Oli Crawley who has run nearby Blend Coffee Co for just under a year, said there were not “a huge number of homeless people” in the area.

He works with Too Good To Go, an organisation, which distributes excess food to the homeless community.

He said: “Everyone is so polite, pleasant and grateful when they receive help.

“There hasn’t been any negative impact on my business.”

Dumitru Constantin, a Romanian national who has been sleeping rough on the street in Portslade, said he had got a one-way to ticket to Gatwick because his house in Romania “was too small”.

He could not get a job in the UK “because he has no documents” and now has “no money for a ticket to return home or for food”.

He said people have been giving him support, but he did not know anything about hostels which might be able to provide him with temporary accommodation and was therefore sleeping on the streets in Portslade.

Maria Ivans, who said she was “99 per cent homeless” used to live at William Collier House, supported housing in North Road, Brighton, but said she was not allowed to remain there because she wanted to live with her partner.

She said: “We can’t afford the shelter because they charge £22 a week and we’re on Universal Credit.

“The Government should be doing more because hostels need more funding.

“I have been smashed in the face with a bottle and a drunk man left me with an injury to my leg during Brighton Pride.

“There isn’t enough housing in Brighton but you never go hungry when you’re on the streets.

“(Homeless charities) Antifreeze are good and so are St Mungo’s, but they’re overspending on their budgets so the hostels need more funding.

“Police should crack down on aggressive beggars.

“It’s a huge problem, but people shouldn’t be arrested.

“You can go to prison for four weeks for begging and that’s not fair.

“People who are aggressive should be moved on rather than being arrested.

“That’s the difference with me, my honesty.

“I’m honest about my drug habit. I’m not like the professional beggars”.

Maria, who has been featured in a BBC3 documentary about homelessness, said: “In the late 1990s and early 2000s there were hardly any homeless people in Brighton and now people on the streets are dying from the cold in the city.”

She said she moved to her current location because “Portslade is safer and the people here are so lovely”.