ROUGH sleepers should have no need to beg during the coronavirus crisis because there are systems in place to help them, the council says.

Brighton and Hove City Council has provided accommodation for about 400 homeless people throughout the pandemic and is now aiming to move them all into sustainable long-term housing.

But, with the council currently providing accommodation, food and support to those in need, chairwoman of housing Councillor Gill Williams said “there is no need for anyone to be begging in the city at the moment”.

She said: “Working with our health and voluntary sector partners, we’ve provided accommodation for everyone who had been sleeping rough or staying in unsafe shared accommodation, as well as people newly homeless at risk of ending up on the streets.

“We’ve secured a number of buildings in the city and set up different types of accommodation to provide the greatest level of protection and support for people with symptoms and those at highest risk.

“While we anticipate some hotels will be returning to their usual business in July, we have secured accommodation until September.

“We’re continuing to provide accommodation, food and support for the people who need it.

“There is no need for anyone to be begging in the city at the moment.”

Having moved rough sleepers into temporary accommodation, the council has now turned its attention to finding a longer term solution the homelessness in the city.

Cllr Williams said: “We’re working in partnership with St Mungo’s, Arch Healthcare and our Public Health team to assess and support people to develop personal housing plans. We’re keen to have these plans in place for everyone to make sure no one needs to return to the streets.

“The options will include moves into supported accommodation, private rented housing or council and housing association properties.”

But some people who are not originally from Brighton and Hove may not be eligible for this support.

“Some people without a local connection to the city will be supported to return to the area where they can be offered accommodation, as long as it’s safe for them to do so,” Cllr Williams said.

The council is now working on a draft homeless and rough sleeping strategy. It will be based on the premise that “everyone should have safe, secure accommodation and, where needed, an appropriate level of support to create a good quality of life”.