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 debrief 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.
Galvanise Brighton & Hove: An Update
Following the Innovation Event (an event bringing together the local community and the homelessness sector to discuss innovative housing solutions, and to match recommendations with resources) in March 2018, the GalvaniseBH steering group has been working on how to best progress the campaign, establishing a more formal structure that enables us to better support rough sleepers into housing.
This campaign is community-led, so we wanted to share and explain the decisions we’ve made, and our thoughts on how we see GalvaniseBH progressing, with you. We welcome any thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the structure of the group managing the campaign?
GalvaniseBH is a campaign run by volunteers from many organisations across the city, with funds raised currently held by YMCA DownsLink Group (YMCA DLG). The campaign will now be forming as a separate entity with its own bank account, meaning we can better facilitate any funds and fundraise more easily.
A constitution has been written to formalise the structure of the Management Committee (the group overseeing GalvaniseBH), listing the campaign’s principles and Committee’s powers, membership criteria and responsibilities.
What is happening with the Ambition Development Groups? Why is there no information on the website about the Group I was in at the Innovation Event?
We listened to your thoughts about which Ambition Development Groups were the most feasible, and had the most support, and are currently moving forward on five - Housing First, Self-Help Housing (previously community led housing), local providers offering units in existing projects, Modular Housing and private rented accommodation (PRA) at Living Rent. We’re keen for this process to be led by you, so other Ambition Development Groups will likely develop as the campaign progresses.
Each of the Groups is in the process of having set-up meetings, establishing a structure and mapping out their action plans. More information and ways to get involved can be found on the dedicated Ambition Development Group page.
How much money has been raised so far, and what’s it being used for?
YMCA DLG kindly committed 50% of funds from its Brighton and Hove Sleep Easy fundraising event to GalvaniseBH, and thanks to the hard work of the participants, volunteers and supporters, this amounts to just over £17,400.
There has also been about £300 raised through Alcampo Lounge’s charity month sponsoring GalvaniseBH, and MEATliquor is currently running a promotion where £1 from each certain dish sold goes to GalvaniseBH.
£11,000 of the money raised for GalvaniseBH is going towards resettling a small number of rough sleepers into their own homes, in partnership with local fund Umbrella Brighton & Hove. Those helped represent the small number of people GalvaniseBH met during Connections Week with low needs. The remaining funds will support the development of additional long-term housing solutions through the Ambition Development Groups.
How can I support the campaign?
We encourage anyone wanting to support GalvaniseBH to pledge their support on our website, which means we can reach you to tell you about upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.
We will also update the website and our social media accounts (@GalvaniseBH on Facebook and Twitter) with any opportunities to support or attend activities, groups or events. We enthusiastically encourage supporters to share their involvement in the campaign with their communities, and for those on social media to tag us in any posts.
We will be launching the full report at an event in Brighton, the date is TBC. At this event, we plan to talk about the report’s findings, update you on the campaign’s progress and let you know how you can get involved.