'I didn’t have anything, or anyone' - research reveals struggles of homeless people moved out of area

Homeless people moved 31km away from Brighton struggling with loss of support network
Homeless people moved 31km away from Brighton struggling with loss of support network

HOMELESS people who have been moved away from their local area are struggling with the loss of a support network, new research shows.

The report by Brighton charity Justlife reveals the mental health struggles of homeless people being placed out of area in Eastbourne, Peacehaven and Newhaven.

Like other local authorities, Brighton and Hove places some of the individuals experiencing homelessness outside of Brighton, as the demand for homeless temporary accommodation is rising beyond capacity.

Nationally, this practice has risen by 344 per cent since 2010.

The Argus as previously carried out several investigations into the placement of homeless people at Kendal Court flats in Newhaven.

At least ten people died after being placed in a temporary or emergency home in the block from 2016 to 2021.

We have spoken to various residents who described how upset they were to be there.

In Justlife's report, the charity interviewed people who presented as homeless to the council in Brighton, who were then sent between 10 to 31km away.

Most of the people interviewed said they were given very little notice and no choice, and that being far from the support of friends, family and support services left them struggling with their mental health.

Those interviewed have not been named due to privacy reasons.

One interviewee said:“They sent me out of that place, over here into a house that has random strangers, absolutely broken with no friends, and I’ve just been struggling every day just to keep going.”

Another said: “All my friends, all my support network is down here, so when they put me out of area, I didn’t have anything, or anyone.”

The report also evaluates the impact of an Out-of-Area Specialist Support Worker role, which was established in 2021 as a pilot scheme in agreement between Justlife and Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) to address the needs of people who lose much-needed support when placed out of area.

The support worker role, funded by BHCC, involved accompanying people to health appointments back in Brighton, sorting out essentials such as shopping, bedding, medication, Universal Credit.

It also helped them manage their mental health, support that was crucial in keeping them from disengaging with much needed services, and falling through the cracks.

One person said: “Just the fact of having her [the support worker] made my anxiety less.”

Signe Gosmann, author of the report, said: “The increasing use of out of area placements is a sign of a system that is not coping with demand.

“This comes at a terrible human cost for vulnerable individuals.

“Most of our interviewees suffered with PTSD and had substantial support needs yet were being placed far from any support they have had.

“It is encouraging to see that our out of area support worker was able to make a difference.”