A NEW year-round night shelter for the homeless will open inside a church.

St Patrick’s in Hove, which has previously been a hostel for the homeless, will provide a short-term home for 29 people and allow another 15 to spend the night inside.

Shelter plans for the 19th century building were approved and funded by Brighton and Hove City Council in September.

YMCA and church volunteers have been working “flat out” to make the church ready for the homeless, said chief executive Chas Walker.

“When you walk through the city, the homeless problem here is evident,” he said.

“It didn’t feel right to have this building lay empty while it’s so cold outside.

“The homeless count is the city can range from anything from 70 to more than 100.

“So with 29 beds in this hostel we should be able to make a significant impact.”

St Patrick’s parish closed in 2015, meaning no worshippers go there any more.

But it has a history of helping those in need.

“Back in the 1980s, the reverend opened the church up to the homeless and created the city’s first night shelter,” said Mr Walker.

“My father was a vicar so I always knew the history of this church.

“It’s a lovely example of faith and practice coming together and putting the story of the good Samaritan in practice. I’m glad we could open it back up again.”

Having worked for YMCA Downslink for ten years, Mr Walker said the homeless problem has changed.

“After ten years of consistent austerity it has hit people hard,” he said. “Mental health has become a much bigger problem too, especially for young people. When I walk out the office into Palmeira Square, I see tents. That didn’t happen ten years ago.”

City council rough sleeping chief Councillor Nichole Brennan said the shelter’s opening will be “another step in the right direction”.

“We’re determined to provide support for those who are unfortunate enough to be homeless by giving them respect, dignity, and help,” she said.

“The homeless of Brighton and Hove are our citizens and our neighbours and everyone should have a right to a home. This good news is another step in the right direction and will bring hope to many.”