A HOMELESS charity founder says a safe camping area would help prevent unofficial encampments forming.

Several tents remain on Hove Lawns despite eviction action being approved in court earlier this month.

Since Brighton and Hove City Council announced the camps would be moved on, several more tents have been set up in a blocked-off area of grass next to the King Alfred Leisure Centre, leading to several complaints from residents.

But Jim Deans, who runs Sussex Homeless Support in Brighton, said more must be done to help homeless people in the city.

Mr Deans said: “I think the council need to put their efforts and money into creating accommodation suitable for the number of people in Brighton.

“We know the people on Hove Lawns quite well, we feed them on a Sunday at the soup kitchen.”

Mr Deans also made an alternative suggestion to solving the housing crisis in the city.

He said: “I think the whole Hove Lawns debate is distracting from the real problem.

“Only last week one of the homeless guys in the city was beaten up.

“It’s a lottery of where in the city is safe to camp. There are unofficial campsites all over the city and they are not safe.

“I suppose the answer will be for the council to set up a proper campsite with access to showers and water.”

He also said that he was not aware of any antisocial or obstructive behaviour from the people staying on Hove Lawns.

Mr Deans said: “If this were to happen then the police have the ability to intervene and move them on, but they have not. I think the only thing they have done is their alternative way of living.”

A city council spokesman said it “obtained possession” of Hove Lawns on September 8 following welfare checks, and was currently completing welfare on the King Alfred site with a view to issuing court proceedings to move the tents “as soon as court availability allows”.

He added that the council could only take action on camps after they had been set up and could not take pre-emptive action.

The spokesman said: “We are trying to ensure that all who need accommodation are assisted and we are looking at ways we can offer more help to reduce the crisis that we can all see more visibly as a result of the tent encampments.

“Our commissioned Street Outreach Service is proactively outreaching the site to offer support to those people sleeping rough to try and resolve their housing need.

“We have worked hard over the last two years to attract additional grant funding from central Government to increase the housing options available to people who are or are at risk of rough sleeping in Brighton and Hove.

“Despite this, at present, hostels are often full and many of the people sleeping rough in the city are waiting for accommodation to become available.

“To address this, we have committed funds and put a lot of work into finding a building for a night shelter, which will open 365 days a year. Expression of interests went out this summer asking for organisations to let us know if they’d be interested in running it.”