Greens in Brighton and Hove appeal for the Labour Council to take “urgent and decisive steps” to address increasing reports of poor living conditions in emergency accommodation for homeless people.
Green Councillors welcomed a petition brought before the Housing and New Homes committee today which highlights the plight of homeless households living in emergency accommodation, which can be cold, damp, and lacking in hot water and basic cooking facilities.
The petition was first submitted by Daniel Harris, a resident in emergency accommodation who has been campaigning to raise awareness of the issue. The campaign gained momentum last week with a public meeting of residents urging that standards be improved. Thanks to Daniel’s public stand, the private landlord directly involved has pledged improvements to the accommodation he lives in, despite Brighton and Hove Council Housing Department and the Labour Group doing nothing to inspect the properties or enforce.
Following a Green amendment to the petition at the council meeting in March, the committee was formally requested to take steps to drive up housing quality and resolve issues.
Greens say the Council should invest in its own quick-build emergency accommodation, drawing on ideas such as Y:Cube housing to reduce its bill from private landlords.
Green Housing spokesperson, Councillor David Gibson, said: “I’m deeply concerned about the increasing reports of poor standards and barely habitable conditions in the city’s emergency accommodation. Homeless people in emergency accommodation are often in turmoil and it is beholden on the council not to aggravate matters by housing them in poor quality accommodation. The council purchase this accommodation from private landlords and expect it to be of a decent standard that offers a safe and habitable space for residents seeking to get back on their feet. These landlords appear to be taking the Council for a ride and this has to stop.
“I attended a meeting with residents living in emergency accommodation and was moved by their struggles and desire to fight for improvements despite being close to rock bottom. They have my full support.
“The council’s rough sleeping strategy shows that of those rough sleepers with a local connection, 31% have been evicted from a hostel or temporary accommodation. It’s clear the Council aren’t getting everything right in our support for homeless households, and need to be doing more to ensure people can access effective support in a safe space.
“That’s why the Greens are pushing for rapid action and a new approach to the issue which focuses on building quick-build housing units to house the city’s homeless, rather than simply filling the pockets of private landlords. Not only will this save the Council money and deliver its financial targets, it will allow the Council to ensure standards are maintained for people to meet their basic needs and focus on moving forward with their lives”.