Councils in Sussex have issued an urgent appeal to the government to do more about the homelessness crisis as it was revealed thousands in the county will be without a home this Christmas.

The research, from housing charity Shelter, lays bare the situation across the country. It shows Brighton and Hove, Crawley, Hastings and Eastbourne are all in the top ten areas outside London with the highest local rates of people who are homeless.

In Brighton and Hove 3,067 people live in temporary accommodation – organised by social services, the council or themselves – including 1,219 children.

Meanwhile, 88 people are sleeping rough.

In Worthing, 708 people live in temporary accommodation including 252 children. Thirteen people are sleeping rough.

In Eastbourne, 879 people live in temporary accommodation including 401 children. Sixteen people are sleeping rough.

In Hastings 1,135 people live in temporary accommodation including 508 children. Twenty one people are sleeping rough.


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And in Crawley 1,031 people live in temporary accommodation including 516 children. Thirty three people are sleeping rough.

Nationally, around 309,000 people will be without a home this Christmas, a rise of 14 per cent in the last year.

Homeless figures are snapshots or estimates of the problem and they often undercount the true number.

Shelter said the "housing emergency is out of control" and called on the government to take the issue seriously.

This call has been echoed by councils in Sussex who say they are not being listened to or adequately supported financially to tackle the problem.

Councillor Gill Williams, chairwoman of the housing and new homes committee at Brighton and Hove City Council, said there is “no doubt that we are facing a housing crisis like no other” and said the council is reviewing services to ensure it can offer “the best possible help to those in need”.

But she said the council needs more support to keep up with demand.

“We are building as many new affordable homes as we can and buying back former council homes,” she said.

“However, to deliver help more effectively, the government must do more to alleviate the pressure on housing and increase supply of genuinely affordable homes. Currently, demand will always outstrip supply in the city.”

Councillor Stephen Holt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said the council’s housing team “works tirelessly” to help keep people in their homes and prevent homelessness but the government must provide councils with “urgent” financial support for this work and the creation of new housing to continue.

He said Eastbourne’s budget for temporary accommodation placements was increased to £2.2 million in 2023/24 but, with the number of placements more than doubling to over 300 during the last two years, the cost is expected to increase to £4.9 million by the end of this financial year.  

“This is simply unsustainable and similar is true of councils, of all political control, across the country,” he said.

"The government is not listening to councils across the country and organisations such as Shelter about the desperate need to address the social and financial crisis caused by rising homelessness and the soaring cost of temporary accommodation.

“This isn't unique to Eastbourne, this is a national emergency and the government must act now."

He has called for the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove to meet with councils to “work together to find solutions”.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said it is spending £2 billion on tackling homelessness and rough sleeping.

A spokesman said temporary accommodation is "an important way of making sure no family is without a roof over their head" but councils must ensure it is temporary and suitable for families' needs.

Funding to address homelessness includes £1 billion given to councils to financially support people moving out of temporary accommodation.

"Through our Rough Sleeping Strategy, we will continue to work to end rough sleeping completely," a spokesman added.