MILLIONS of pounds will be spent trying to reduce the number of people sleeping rough in Brighton and Hove over the next few years.

Councillors want to improve and expand the services on offer to tackle homelessness, taking advantage of extra funding from the Government.

One councillor expressed concern that some of the decisions were uncosted.

But members were given a clear picture of the challenges confronting the city council and the approach being recommended as the weather becomes more wintry.

Their decisions were made against a backdrop of unauthorised tented camps popping up across Brighton and Hove.

The council’s housing committee asked officials to work with organisations such as St Mungo’s and Brighton Housing Trust to prevent people from becoming homeless and to help rough sleepers off the streets as quickly as possible.

They also pressed for outreach work to be stepped up from six days a week to seven.

Green councillor Amy Heley said she wanted a seven-day-a-week service, adding: “We’re not pretending to know the financial implications. We want a vote on the principle.”

The council’s acting executive director of neighbourhoods, communities and housing Pinaki Ghoshal said if the cost would be above the budgeted level, it would have to be agreed by the policy and resources committee.

Two of the services – the No Second Night Out Hub and the Somewhere Safe To Stay service – were both subject to funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Somewhere Safe To Stay offers 12 “crash beds” and ten “units of accommodation”.

Both are going out to tender, subject to the available budget or grant funding.

The committee asked for annual reports on the progress and outcomes of these services.

In the past two years 877 were found rough sleeping in Brighton and Hove.

In the past three months 85 people have moved from the streets into accommodation

Half the people helped by the city’s street outreach service operated by St Mungo’s have moved away from the streets. Of these 136 are in supported housing, 110 in temporary homes and 41 in long-term accommodation.

A further 119 were reconnected with family or friends or returned home.

In September 72 people were found sleeping on the streets on one night. Of these 64 were men and eight women.

This matches the general trend for rough sleepers as approximately 80 per cent are men.

Half of all rough sleepers in the city have no local connection.

A breakdown found 80 per cent were from the UK, with 10 per cent from the EU, and 6 per cent not from other parts of the world.

This year 96 people have stayed in Somewhere Safe to Stay.

Of these 35 had a local connection to the city.

Sixty eight people were from the UK, 10 from EU countries, six from African nations and three from Asia.

Eight gave no details.