HOUSING & HOMELESS MANIFESTO
HOUSING & HOMELESS MANIFESTO
Solving The Housing Crisis
HOMELESS MANIFESTO DEMANDS
The Council has adopted the Homeless Bill of Rights but very little has been done to implement it. Set up a group including councillors to examine each aspect of the council’s operations affecting homeless people, audit the extent that it is compliant with the spirit as well as the letter of the Homeless Bill of Rights, and effect reforms to bring it into line. The key here is that true attention to people who are homeless and their individual rights and needs involves some administrative inefficiency; the council’s systems must where necessary be tolerant to this.
Therefore We Demand Full Implementation of the Homeless Bill of Rights
Since the last election and because of campaigning from organisations like ourselves demanding more in-house emergency & temporary accommodation, we have seen around 250 temporary accommodation homes being purchased by Brighton and Hove City Council & brought back in-house and local authority owned. This has been a welcome change to the default private sector model which has seen a large number of evictions, poor tenant satisfaction and expensive for the local authority.
Purchasing, Building New Modern Emergency Accommodation Facilities in order to Phase Out the private sector existing providers.
Selective Licensing and New Rules around Landlords and HMOS, Fire Safety – Effectively managed and “tough time” approach on rogue landlords as we have seen from the much publicised legal case where Brighton and Hove City Council fined a HMO Landlord £13,600.
Paul Williams National Organiser from Acorn Renters Union spoke about this issue recently at the Action on Homes Conference, Check out Pauls Speech here.
Following years of horror stories & case studies from people experiencing homelessness and living in hostel type short term temporary accommodation. Started by Justlife and the Shared Health Foundation “A cross-party movement at Westminster improving the health, lives and experiences of families and single adults living in temporary accommodation across England.”
Formed in early 2022 and currently active, the APPG aims to improve the health, lives and experiences of families and single adults living in temporary accommodation across England. Using insights from lived experience the APPG will present solutions to the national Hidden Homelessness situation. Check out the APPG For Temporary Accommodation Website for more information on the aims and membership.
Jim Deans from Sussex Homeless Support has recently said “The Pod (first home): SHS built it 80% finished, all 3 parties viewed its building and some even helped. Brighton University viewed it at various stages and were involved in planning. It was set to a Success to the city and a real answer to fast building quality homes. It has laid in storage 2 years and every application for a site in Brighton & Hove has met with objections or silence by BHCC. I viewed it this week and have photos, it looks like they day we moved it but with a coating of dirt that will wash off. Everything we did was right. That must be treated as a priority to think out the box as Brighton & Hove used to.”
We have been campaigning for many years it seems, as have Arch Healthcare from a medical standpoint, and we have had petitions adopted by the council more than once for this, and yet nothing happens. There must be a facility that is open to the public (not just a telephone number) 24/7 that can triage people, provide immediate accommodation if needed, and assess them for all the council’s and NHS services without delay. Article 2 of the Homeless Bill of Rights says that no-one should ever have to sleep rough; without such a point of access we cannot be said to provide this.
Jim Deans SHS recently commented: “I would elaborate on the 24 x 7 triage by the community involved in this, just look what the community has done with very little government involvement and some of that was negative at the start. We have over 1000 Ukrainians living in our area and they have integrated completely due to “community taking the lead”.
Dr Tim Worthley at the Action on Homes Conference said “
“What we want for the city because we’re, as I say painfully aware of what we’re not doing, this is a map just to show where some of the different settings are in the city, for people who need to access health support and we find that in the average day someone might need to walk as many six miles just to get to a few different services. We believe very firmly that that’s not good enough, that it’s unfair that it’s introducing barriers and it makes trying to get out of homelessness, it makes that a full-time job and let alone all the other things you need to do just to stay alive and to stay safe.”
“What we would argue needs to happen and we can talk about this a bit more later, we think there needs to be a Homeless Healthcare Hub in Central Brighton that brings all of these teams together, that has a GP service, that has a mental health service, that has a community nursing service they would be with us, we would want some misuse workers with us, the health engagement team and we’d like to host housing workers and benefits advisors and social workers and it could be a real Hub of activity. We could run courses, run classes, there’d be a Cafe there.” Read Dr Tim Worthley’s Full Speech at the Action on Homes Conference here.
Jess & Matt from the Museum of Homelessness, which is a wonderful organisation SET UP AND RUN BY PEOPLE WITH LIVED EXPERIENCE who are A NATIONAL PROJECT TO REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE DIED whilst experiencing homelessness. Their recent freedom of information requests showed Brighton and Hove have a serious problem with Homeless Housed Deaths, with some 72 people dying whilst housed and homeless within a two year period, including the recent sad news another young LGBTQ+ Homeless Housed Human Took his own life.
We are demanding the next administration Record, Investigate & Learn from these homeless housed deaths. We demand you find polices and solutions to stop people needlessly dying whilst homeless and housed.
Press & Evidence:
We are supporting demands for in-house council owned specific homeless accommodation by LGBTQ+ Community Members experiencing Homelessness in Brighton and Hove following reports of; Hate Crimes, Isolation & Deaths.
LGBT SWITCHBOARD have produced a manifesto which is not public yet, but was derived from a well attended conference last year, and focused on Safe Spaces, Provision for Older People, Provision for those suffering homelessness to name just a few areas.
These demands are in line with the City of Sanctuary Accreditation the city have adopted and subscribed too.
There really seems to be very little of this happening in Brighton. We see examples of public land being sold and newly built homes and developers trying to get out of the affordable homes requirements, many with payments, which are often far less and often include large profits for developers, but the communities lose the land, resources, and services, in a city which is dominated by the private sector. Another example was the former priory house council housing building, which is now short term air bnb style lets, raking in up to £250 per night for the private sector organisation who own and manage the properties.
The Community Need A Voice & Say:
The General Hospital Site which is publicly owned would make an ideal Homeless Healthcare Hub, we have a similar vision to Arch Healthcare and many stakeholders, that the need for a Homeless Healthcare Style Hub, With decent Detox Services and a decent mix of Short, medium and long term homes, would be good for those experiencing homelessness, great for local healthcare and organisations as less and less will become homeless and of those who do, we would have state of the art preventative, reactive and patient/person centred community wealth building services, which, can only save money and even in the long term make money from rent and council tax receipts, and savings from spendings elsewhere, for examples See Tim Worthley’s Speech & Evidence here: Tim Worthley Calls For A Homeless Healthcare Hub in Brighton and Hove.
Converting Underused Business Spaces Such as Retail Shops and Former Banks, like RBS Bttm North Street into council owned / partnership homes.
The HROB is just a place where officials announce their policies; attendance is very poor because it is not a place for genuine discussion. It is useless for community involvement. The reason is that no councillors are present so the officers have it all their own way.
We Demand a committee/working group which includes councillors, officials, voluntary sector, and community organisations – a CAGH but on a more permanent and resourced basis – where real issues can be discussed and the activist community can have their say.
Spend on AREA PANELS vs the Resident Involvement, 4 residents in East Panel in Dec 2023, 10 officers. Lack of diversity & inclusion of Council Tenants including those currently experiencing homelessness.
HOUSING MANIFESTO DEMANDS
There should be no more selling off of council assets / public land.
We should be building more council housing, at a social rent. We are told this is impossible because the cost of building and of the land needs to be recovered out of the rent within a certain period. This makes no sense to us; the buildings will have a life of 200 years or more and represents a capital asset from the moment it is built. We should be finding ways to build at a genuinely social rent.
– People with disabilities stuck in unsuitable homes! We need more Council homes fully adapted / hybrid adaptations.
People stuck in supported accommodation; we need longer term placement options to reduce these numbers. Prevent further demand on other services.
We have seen far to many cases where buildings classified for community use end up in property developers hands, denying the local community of community assets and truly affordable homes as many end up unaffordable and are marketed to people out of area.
We Demand The Next Administration Encourage / force Private Developers to provide decent, sustainable, people-friendly developments, priced to suit the needs of people on local incomes.
Severe lack of 3, 4 and 5 Bedroom Homes, We need to ensure families aren’t stuck forever in unsuitable and overcrowded homes, some are benefit capped.
We Demand The Next Administration Make better use of their borrowing powers and low cost government funding to finance this over the medium to long term.
Knoll Housing Project should be Scrapped and instead be converted into permanent flats, saving the local tax payer millions. The Council should Build project elsewhere maybe Swanborough drive, or general hospital site.
We Demand The Next Administration Conduct a thorough Stock Survey on its 11,000 Council Homes and Commercial Assets and Develop A Plan to Increase The Number of New Councils Homes end Long Term Homelessness and Reduce Those Waiting for Homes and Registered on the Council Housing Waiting List. This can be achieved By Adapting and Redeveloping Existing Stock.
The Community were told repairs & maintenance has been brought back in-house but this is not the case. With companies out of area being provided lucrative contract work around damp and mould recently, and other disappointing admissions.
We Demand The Next Administration Commit to Fully Bringing the service in house to stop the incentives for big refurbishment projects that would be needed if repairs were done properly (e.g. Clarendon & Ellen estate etc.), and also for environmental reasons to get out of the habit of replacing rather than repairing.
There is an issue of the quality of repairs and post job surveying being done. Perhaps we could be working with Brighton University to make the repairs department a centre of excellence in learning building trades and in particular the new skills needed for climate change, somewhere a person can be proud of saying they trained, real apprenticeships and a learning environment on the building site. If we had that, with decent terms and conditions, career progression and continuing professional education, we might have a team to be proud of; and it would really pay off in terms of cost of refurbishments.
An idea of Barry’s – wherever we are doing a refurbishment we should be looking to extend our blocks upwards by a floor or two.
This Truly is Community Wealth Building and Something which has been successful elsewhere, such as The Preston Model.
Why are we not supporting BHCLT and its member organisations more effectively?
Need for zero/negative carbon (embodied and operational), both in Council Homes and Private developments;
Need for an effective city-wide integrated transport plan – 20 minute neighbourhoods, with less car-dependency and sustainable transport links:
Capacity of public utilities needs to be sufficient to meet increasing demand from new developments/planned density levels;
WASTE & RE-CYCLING
Capacity of general waste and re-cycling needs to be sufficient to meet increasing demand from new developments/planned density levels.
Reforming Council Culture
- Improve relationships between the Public, Councillors and Council Officers;
- Improve Management Structure and Operating Procedures;
- Improve transparency of Council processes and decisions.