THE lead councillor for homelessness in Brighton and Hove said the authority was adopting a “welfare-first approach” when it comes to rough sleeping.

Councillor Nichole Brennan said she is instructing officers to offer support to homeless people camping in the city, rather than evicting them.

Speaking to The Argus at the Big Sleep Out, Labour’s Cllr Brennan, who joined Brighton and Hove City Council in May, said: “I want to help the rough sleeping and homeless situation.

“If it was left to me, there wouldn’t be much left in the budget.

“We are using a welfare-first strategy,

“With the tent situation, we are spending so much on enforcement but the community are the ones giving out the tents.

“Instead of eviction, they have to be having some form of support and help – what’s the point of constantly moving them on around the city?”

Cllr Brennan said this strategy worked with a man who had been camping on Hove Lawns for months, called “Mr Dogg”. The rough sleeper, who lived on the protected lawns with at least eight tents, complete with a barbecue and camping chairs, has now moved into accommodation.

In August, “Mr Dogg” told The Argus that he would only move if he was given his own flat.

Cllr Brennan said: “I would say to officers they can’t move him, they have to work with him. I was letting them know that he has rights.

“It is a more personalised approach and because I’ve known him, he has compromised.”

The East Brighton representative heaped praise on Sussex Homeless Support, the council’s outreach service St Mungos, and “homeless doctor” Tim Worthley.

She is passionate about the introduction of a women’s homeless night shelter and more supported accommodation.

Cllr Brennan said: “The amount of people with needs – whether it is mental health problems or drug addiction – is rife.”

“This is a symptom of the government cuts.”