The complexities of homelessness in Eastbourne, and how you can help

Reformed East Sussex (R.E.S) are seeking help from businesses and the public to improve the lives of those who want a second chance. In February in was revealed homelessness in Eastbourne had quadrupled in two years, and this month (September 2018) a new report from Citizens Advice further discussed the complex nature of this increasingly visible issue.

CEO of Citizens Advice Eastbourne, Alan Bruzon said in the report: “In the past few years, street homelessness has become increasingly visible in Eastbourne town centre, with people huddled in shop doorways, wrapped in sleeping bags, sometimes asking for help from passers by but other times seemingly fast asleep. During the winter, when the weather gets colder it is hard to imagine how it would feel to spend your days that way.

“As an Eastbourne resident, I was used to seeing this in Brighton or London and perhaps the occasional isolated individual on the streets here. This has now changed. In the short walk from my home to the local shops ,I am now used to seeing one or more homeless people and I have spoken to many of them as I go by.”

The report talks about the truly complex nature of homelessness and the sometimes misunderstood issues that cause a person to become homeless – mental health, increasing house prices, domestic abuse to name just a few. But while talk of this social issue continues to be highlighted locally and nationally the report also states that the “public did not have a deep understanding of the issues involved and were often unaware of the type of support which is available in the town.”

The recommendations, which can be found on page 10 of the full report, include raising awareness of the many issues facing those who find themselves homeless, improving ‘life skills’ of those in danger of becoming homeless and working on prevention initiatives.

These are all recommendations that Reformed East Sussex (R.E.S) welcome and are already working on locally. New Leaf Housing for Women is the company’s latest project, it is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that centres on quickly moving women experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing and then providing additional support and services as needed.

Talking in the report R.E.S CEO Charmaine Sewell said: “Eastbourne is changing and the current regeneration will improve economic prosperity. However, it will also make the town more attractive for homeless people from elsewhere, so we will need additional support for homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless.

“A housing first approach is essential because people cannot be expected to get back into work or overcome substance misuse problems when they are homeless. Housing provides the necessary base which people need so they can focus on rebuilding other aspects of their lives and recovery is made easier when housing and support are in place.”

To help R.E.S continue to help the most vulnerable people in our communities they are exploring new ways to make funding more sustainable and are interested in working with local businesses to collaborate on new ideas. If you are a business interested in helping those who want and deserve a second chance contact R.E.S here.

Read the full report from Citizens Advice here.

Help us ensure New Leaf can support as many women as possible: