I’ve always had a hunch that the sun shines more in Brighton and so it made me smile a few weeks back when the Independent newspaper got in touch to say that they have crunched 30 years of meteorological data and can confirm that Brighton is the sunniest city in the UK. It’s good for the soul and also good for our many businesses still battling from the effects of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis. May our days be filled with sunshine this summer (and a general election too please).

I love our city all year round but there is something special about Brighton and Hove when we get those first few weekend days of real summer. Sunny Saturday mornings in Brighton feel full of hope and adventure. Last weekend was no different. Beaches filling up, Brighton Festival getting into full swing and a first time for something that feels very Brighton: a tree festival.

In the last week I’ve seen the best and the worst of our city. On the latter, we’re desperate to alleviate the housing crisis afflicting so many families in Brighton. In my ward and across the city we have more and more households presenting as homeless or badly overcrowded. Families of seven or eight living in two-bedroom houses. And more people being issued with Section 21 evictions and left with precious few options. Earlier this month, myself, our new chief executive Jess Gibbons and our soon-to-be cabinet member for housing and new homes Gill Williams visited some of our temporary and emergency accommodation. Meant for short term stays we now have families living here for years, children growing up in temporary accommodation. And this week it’s been revealed that nationally, the number of children in temporary accommodation has doubled in the past ten years. Another Tory failure, leaving people insecure and undermining the wellbeing of thousands.

In Brighton and Hove, since we took office, almost exactly a year ago over 2,500 households have presented as homeless. The situation is so dire that we have increasingly placed families outside of the city, unable to find bed spaces in Brighton. I know from speaking to those most affected how hard it is to be placed out of area. Schooling interrupted, support networks fractured, jobs made undo-able due to increased travelling time. We can’t go on like this. Which is why we have instructed officers to bring down the number of families placed out of area – including looking at innovative ways to spot-purchase and better working with neighbouring authorities such as Worthing and Eastbourne to ensure we are pulling together to keep residents living in the place they call home.

We are looking at all options – including currently reviewing our housing allocations policy to try to reduce overcrowding and we are consulting on a new housing strategy too. If you’re affected please do consider responding to these consultations so we can hear your views.

My last week has also been filled with lots of inspiration and progress. I had a guided tour around the Hippodrome restoration by the Lambor family. I’d never stepped foot inside the Hippodrome before and it felt like discovering a precious jewel. The painted ceiling is breathtaking and I cannot wait for it to be reopened, taking its rightful place as a community cultural asset and making music memories for future generations.

I met Dawn Whittaker, our East Sussex Fire and Rescue chief executive, who has been doing some amazing work championing neurodiversity and nurturing youngsters. We discussed the possibility of a Brighton fire cadet service, something we’d dearly love to support if we can find some seed funding.

Last Friday I was honoured as a guest at the East Sussex Women of the Year lunch – a gathering of 250 women in Brighton, Hove and East Sussex, making a difference in their communities. It was a powerful feeling – seeing so many women gathered together in a way that is all too often reserved predominantly for men.

And in the evening on to the mayor’s end of year reception at the Metropole. Our mayor Jackie O’Quinn has been a wonderful and highly visible first citizen. She has left her mark championing women, young people and our Armed Forces and I know she will bring that drive to her work as chairwoman of our new overview and scrutiny committee for people when she moves into that role later this week.

Me and my husband ended the week seeing Kae Tempest at the Dome. I won’t try and summarise this electric person and performance in one sentence but if you ever get the chance to see Kae do, an original and a force of nature.

Bella Sankey is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council