BRIGHTON and Hove City Council is planning to open up a hostel for 20 homeless people and rough sleepers opposite Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College, something which has met with opposition from the college.

It has written to the council expressing its concern that its 3,000 students could be placed at risk from “county lines” drug dealers (The Argus, November 2).

The council said that the premises would be staffed by professionals around the clock 365 days a year and would house rough sleepers and single homeless people for up to 28 days, and that it would operate in a similar way to William Collier House in North Road and George Williams House in Portslade.

Similar, perhaps, but definitely not the same.

Both of these houses are part of Brighton YMCA, whose aim is to house and support single men and women until such time as their wellbeing improves and they gain the skills and confidence that they will need when they move on to living independent and fulfilling lives.

In order to meet that criteria this new hostel will, like them, have two main requirements; a highly competent staff and enough time to work with, and improve the lives of, the people who will be accommodated there.

However, time is the one thing this new hostel will not have, unlike William Collier House and George Williams Mews where, I understand, they can stay for up to two years.

It may have enough support, catering, cleaning and night security staff working around the clock but 28 days will be far too short a period of time for them, however professional and competent that they may be, to make any appreciable difference to the lives of those living in this hostel.

By the time staff get to know them, and understand their problems, the month will be up, they will have left and another 20 will be moving in; a process that could be quite dispiriting for the staff, I would have thought.

To my mind this looks like yet another revolving door for the homeless and rough sleepers to negotiate before, hopefully, finding somewhere permanent to settle down in.

Also, for the very limited effect that I believe this hostel will have, I wonder if the council has any idea what the cost of employing the necessary number of staff to meet its duty of care towards those living in its hostel will amount to? Having managed a similar, but somewhat larger, project than this I know, by experience, that it will be quite considerable.

So, given the facts that it will be in a very unsuitable location, that its services will only being available to its clients for 28 days and that it will need a large and costly staff to operate, will the council still go ahead and set it up?

What do you think?

Eric Waters, Lancing