Motion Was Passed!!

A motion for making vacant council buildings available for use as homeless shelters was put forward by Tom Druitt and seconded by David Gibson. It was unanimously voted on and passed on Thursday 26th January 2017. An urgent report will now be put together and heard at the next policy, resources & growth committee meeting.

passed

We have been told by councillors that this is unlikely to be ready in practical terms until next winter. In the meantime we plan to keep the pressure up on the council with regard to (SWEP ) Severe Weather Emergency Protocol.

To support in keeping the pressure up you could consider emailing jenny.knight@brighton-hove.gov.uk and clare.moonan@brighton-hove.gov.uk to express (or demand) that the council must change their arbitrary decision making process when deciding whether to activate SWEP or not. They should be applying the charity ‘Homeless Link’s guidance of ‘Extended Winter Provision’ from November through to February for folk living on the streets. Instead of waiting for it to be below zero for three consecutive nights. They need to consider the rain, wind and other conditions which also have a severe impact.

F.Y.I. Homeless Link guidance

 

Call for emergency homeless shelters to remain open throughout winter

Pressure is growing on Brighton and Hove City Council to extend the opening times of emergency homeless shelters in the cold winter months.

Activists said ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol’ (SWEP) was activated in Brighton and Hove as temperatures dropped over the weekend and on Monday night, but halted again on Tuesday as the weather was no longer deemed to be extreme.

 

image

The First Base centre in St Stephens Hall on Montpelier Place was used as emergency shelter for rough sleepers during SWEP. Entry was permitted from 8pm onwards, with no referral or local connection needed.

Campaigners are now heaping pressure on councillors to protect rough sleepers by extending the scope of SWEP to last throughout the winter, rather than for isolated periods of extreme weather.

Ree Melody, of campaign group Love Activists Brighton, said: “The council needs to change their arbitrary decision making process and consider the severe impact which the rain, wind and other conditions have on those living on our streets, instead of waiting for it to become below zero temperatures for three consecutive nights running.”

Currently the requirements state that three consecutive nights at zero or below is the minimum requirement to activate SWEP responses.

The Love Activists group has been lobbying the council to apply ‘Extended Winter Provision’ as advised by the guidance from the charity Homeless Link, which would make it possible for councils to open emergency centres from November through to March.

A Homeless Link report which aims to advise local authorities on providing appropriate responses for people sleeping rough says the authority in question should consider factors ‘such as wind chill, snow coverage and duration of extreme weather’ when considering adequate provision.

It adds the aim of the protocol is to prevent deaths on the streets and local authorities should do everything they can to prevent harm.

Ms Melody said: “Love Activists have been lobbying the council for the past couple of years for SWEP to be open throughout winter with our other Solution Based Proposals To End Homelessness.”

These proposals include the activation of SWEP not only throughout the winter months but also in any weather which threatens rough sleepers’ health, as well as imposing affordable social rents on private landlords to ensure everyone can afford a home.

Cllr Clare Moonan, the council’s lead member for rough sleeping, said: “We do appreciate that people are concerned about rough sleepers, and especially in cold weather, and that is why we have asked everyone to support the Make Change Count campaign organised with local homeless charities this winter. With our partners, and under the Rough Sleeping Strategy, we work hard to make sure vulnerable people on our streets are cared for, not just in extreme weather, but throughout the year, and welcome the regular discussion about this at committee meetings and full council. The services we provide in extreme weather are to provide additional emergency support on top of the other services already being provided, and we do take into account weather conditions other than zero temperatures.”

A 38Degrees petition addressed to Brighton and Hove councillor for the homeless Clare Moonan demanding open night shelters for rough sleepers has now been signed by almost 4,000 people.

At tonight’s (January 26) Full Council meeting Green councillor Tom Druitt is set to put forward a motion requesting urgent action on the homelessness crisis.

Original article here

STREET STORY: The Cost of Punishment

The word is that if a person gets exploited by the criminal justice system and put inside for less than 12 months for say repeatedly begging (asking for help!) or somesuch, it costs an average of 68k per year.

The state has no obligation to house you and you’re slung onto the street with a £49 discharge grant. Put on an ‘at risk’ licence but receive no supervision or support!:/

That helps with the perpetual cycle of homelessness and coercion into possibly criminal activities doesn’t it?

Join the Love Activists Bloc, #GeneralStrike #J4 July 4th

The Lobbying and Direct Action crew have set up a facebook event page to rally for a Love Activists Bloc at the #ToriesOut #GeneralStrike on July 4th, #J4.

Join us at the general strike to protest against empty homes, homelessness and the absence of compassion on our streets!

MAKE SOME NOISE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!

Bring:

– Drums
– Other things to make noise
– A smile

Main event page for Brighton:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1071319602906938/

Love Activists Bloc:

facebook.com/events/1678381002379639/

STREET STORY: Have 2 More People Died On Our Streets?

6-3-16

Heard news last night that 2 more homeless people have died last weekend. Unsure of who yet. Will be calling the police station for any info.

When we rang the past couple of times over the past few months after hearing of the deaths of other people, the senior street community police officer ‘Sergeant Siggs’ failed to call us with any info or to even just say he wouldn’t be able to share any info due to data protection, nothing. Despite expressing that we were trying to find out whether the guy who had been found was someone we knew or not, for ourselves and others living on the street. We still have no answer to whether one of the guys we knew is dead or alive 😦

We rang back after another person died 3 weeks afterwards and voiced the upset from hearing no response when we previously called and needing to make another request for info about someone else. The officer i spoke to was most apologetic and reassured me that she would ask Siggs to call back … we never had any response.

We have also heard a report that when Officer Siggs was on duty recently, in plain clothes kicked at someone asleep on the street to wake them up (the police routinely do this at around 6/7am apparently). We have heard that the officers do this instead of shaking them by their body as less intrusive!? Siggs told us they do it to encourage people to go to First Base. The police tell them that if they refuse or don’t use the services for various reasons, whatever they are, they are not considered or respected. Instead they get arrested.

The person asleep when woken apparently didn’t know him as an officer, and the fact that he was in plain clothes too, the person felt vulnerable and hit out at his leg worried that someone was starting on them. Siggs arrested them. The person was later released as CCTV footage showed that Siggs had kicked him first. No charges were applied.

People on the street are reporting back that officers, including Siggs are on a mission waking people up and telling them to move on or they will be taken into custody 😦

If anyone has any info/news on the two deaths deaths last weekend please let us know. We heard one young guy was found dead near the Brighton Wheel.