HUNDREDS of rough sleepers in Brighton now have a roof over their head, but cannot sleep easy.

Many have been moved from hotels to student accommodation after the Government “quietly pulled the plug” on a £3.2 million scheme to keep them off the streets amid the coronavirus crisis.

Brighton and Hove City Council has said it only has accommodation in place until September. Campaigners fear the city’s rough sleepers could soon be homeless once more.

The homelessness charity Crisis has warned that nationally, thousands of rough sleepers could be back on the streets by July as local authorities struggle to afford emergency accommodation.

The council, which has been housing about 400 rough sleepers during the pandemic, said it has committed to making sure that no one will have to return to the streets.

But it is fighting an ongoing battle with central government. Council leader Nancy Platts said she has written to the Government’s homelessness czar Dame Louise Casey calling for support to help “eradicate homelessness for good” in Brighton.

Campaigners in the city fear for the worst. Jim Deans, who runs the charity Sussex Homeless Support, said “Armageddon” was on the horizon. While many rough sleepers have been housed at the University of Brighton’s Phoenix Brewery halls of residence, he said more people are finding themselves homeless as the devastating effects of lockdown hit.

“We’re seeing ten more people becoming homeless in Brighton and Hove each week,” he said. “There will be more people on the streets this winter than we’ve ever had before.

“You just need to Google Skid Row to see where this is leading. We’ve got to build accommodation and change the way our city works – because as it stands, charities like ours are bracing for Armageddon.”

Mr Deans, who was once homeless himself, explained what it would be like for people to return to the streets now.

“It’s a feeling of utter despair,” he said. “There is such an opportunity to keep people off the street at the moment. It’s amazing – you can hardly tell that many of these guys are homeless. They’ve got new clothes, they’ve shaved and cleaned up. To send them back now they’ve softened up would be devastating.”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We have accommodation in place until September, and are working hard to put in place personal housing plans for all the rough sleepers we’re currently accommodating, so no-one will need to return to the streets.”

The Government insists it is still providing financial support to councils so they can tackle homelessness.

Last month, Dame Louise Casey said the Government is not running out of money to support the homeless, and said nobody would be “tipped out”.