GalvaniseBH seeks to end the cycle of chronic homelessness by engaging a much wider group of people to find and resource innovative housing solutions. The long-term aim is to ensure that homeless people are housed in permanent, safe, appropriate and affordable housing with the right sort of support in order to sustain it.
At the end of 2017, we engaged a wide range of volunteers across Brighton and Hove to take part in a week of local action bringing together the local community, those sleeping on the streets and those working in homelessness organisations. Known as Connections Week, the aim was to make sure rough sleepers were spoken to about their story, situation and aspirations for the future to ensure services and support truly reflects the needs of homeless people.
The Community Debrief
During Connections Week, we collected surveys from 125 rough sleepers. Some of the findings were in line with national trends, but many were a stark reminder of the many circumstances that can lead to, and perpetuate, homelessness. These initial findings were shared shortly after Connections Week at a community de-brief at the British Airways i360:
- 15% of respondents were in paid employment
- 22% had been a child in care
- 58% of people surveyed became homeless due to a traumatic experience such as domestic violence
- 22% reported that they are pressured or forced to do things they do not want to do
Some of the reasons people ended up on the streets include:
- “I had a breakdown and couldn’t cope. I worked for an agency on minimum wage… I had to choose between accommodation and food.”
- “I was a carer for my mother, who passed away – then I became homeless.”
A report summarising the key findings and recommendations from the surveys is available to read below:
The Innovation Event
The Innovation Event took place on Tuesday 27 March and was designed to bring together the local community and the homelessness sector to discuss innovative housing solutions, and to match recommendations with resources.
During this event, we outlined what we have done so far in the campaign and shared the recommendations from the report based on the analysis of the data volunteers collected while surveying rough sleepers in the November 2017 Connections Week.
The evening centred on informal discussions in small groups around innovative housing solutions for rough sleepers and began the process of trying to identify resources which could help make these ideas a reality.
The ultimate aim of the evening was to form some Ambition Development Groups focused around a select set of innovations that can be worked on throughout 2018.