Shelter research shows 29,500 homeless in the South East, including over 3,000 in Brighton & Hove

Graham Robson December 15, 2023

New research from Shelter has shown at least 29,500 people in the South East – 3,155 people in Brighton & Hove – including more than 13,500 children.

Shelter’s analysis of official homelessness figures and responses to Freedom of Information requests reveal homelessness in the region has risen rapidly in just 12 months: 570 people are sleeping rough on any given night (27% increase) and 28,600 are living in temporary accommodation (10% increase) – most of whom are families.  

Shelter’s research also looks at places across the South East where homelessness is most acute. Hastings comes out worst, with one in 79, (1,156) people homeless, followed by Brighton & Hove where one in 88, (3,155), people are homeless and Crawley, where one in 111, (1,064), people are without a home. While the charity believes its analysis to be the most “comprehensive overview of recorded homelessness in England”, it believes the true figure is likely to be higher as “some types of homelessness, like sofa-surging, go entirely undocumented”. 

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Homelessness is on nobody’s Christmas list, but 29,500 people in the South East will spend this time of year in a tiny hostel room or freezing in a doorway. 

“The housing emergency is out of control. Chronic underinvestment in social homes has left people unable to afford skyrocketing private rents and plunged record numbers into homelessness. It is appalling that the government has allowed thousands of families to be packed into damp and dirty B&B’s and hostel rooms, which are traumatising children and making people desperately ill.  

“Until the government takes this emergency seriously, our frontline services will do everything they can to help people keep or find a safe home this winter. It is only with the public’s support that we can continue to provide vital advice and support and fight for the solutions people want and need to end homelessness. To donate to Shelter’s Urgent Appeal, visit 

Shelter’s frontline services are dealing with the reality of rising homelessness every day from supporting families crammed into a one-room B&B with mouldy walls and bed bugs, to providing emergency assistance to people faced with a night on the streets. The charity has launched an urgent appeal calling on the public to help it be there for people experiencing homelessness this winter.  

To donate to Shelter’s Urgent Winter Appeal and give people experiencing homelessness the support and security they need this Christmas, CLICK HERE