We provide essential services across Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings, as well as elsewhere in Sussex.
Over the past 50 years BHT Sussex has developed a diverse menu of services to support people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and people who have complex needs.
Our services include: day centre provision, residential rehabilitation, mental health services, specialist housing and legal advice and work, learning and training initiatives.
Real life stories from BHT Sussex
The Whitehawk Inn provides services beyond being a local community support service and adult education centre.
Helen was referred to us by the Discretionary Payment team at Brighton and Hove City Council. She wanted advice on how to reduce her deficit monthly budget. A significant rent increase had caused a monthly deficit.
In Helen’s support session, we completed a monthly budget planner. We then discussed options available to her to reduce the deficit, including income maximisation (for example, renting out her second bedroom, working part time, and downsizing) and reducing outgoings such as cheaper utility bills, water etc., and grants which she may be eligible for through the Council, Turn2Us and utility trust funds.
We completed a benefit check which showed she was not eligible for any further benefits.
Helping someone off the streets is not as simple as just providing a roof over their head. Becs was referred to our 52 bed hostel, Phase One, in April 2013 having lost her accommodation. She had previously had her own independent tenancies but these had broken down due to rent arrears which had led to her entering a negative cycle and her engagement with support services had decreased.
Her physical health was poor due to her long-term alcohol and drug addiction which had also impacted her psychological well-being as she had been struggling with establishing positive sleep patterns causing her to feel depressed.
When she came to Phase One she wanted to work towards again getting her own independent accommodation and to re-establish contact with her son.
Poor mental health is both a cause and consequence of homelessness. BHT Sussex understands the importance of good mental health for preventing homelessness, which is why we have a number of supported accommodation services that offer much needed mental health assistance. One of these is Route One, which provides supported accommodation for 60 adults with mental health support needs in Brighton and Hove. This is the story of Salah, who was supported by Route One. Salah is a 37-year-old man who came to the UK as a refugee from Sudan in 2012. Following the traumatic events that he suffered through … Read more
Last year our advice services in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings prevented 817 households from becoming homeless. The impact of this is huge: fewer people on the streets, less demands on local council homelessness services, or moving children away from the schools and their friends. Some people become homeless, not through any fault of their own.
Mike moved into a Housing Association flat in 1980. A few months later he was offered a job as a caretaker at a nearby social club – a job he did for 36 years until he was made redundant. In 1996 he had moved to another flat owned by the housing association, but unbeknown to him, his employers had taken a sub-lease on the flat. In law, his employer had become his landlord. The social club went into liquidation.
Not only did he lose his job, but he wasn’t given any redundancy pay and he was told to leave his home of 20 years.
Sometimes people who we have supported contact us years after their time with us just to say thank you. It is always wonderful to hear from people who have turned their lives around, and a powerful testament to the long-term impacts of our services. Steve got in touch nearly ten years after he stayed at Phase One, our high-support hostel for people who are homeless in Brighton, where we work with people to address the root causes of their homelessness. This was Steve’s message to us. Hi all at BHT Sussex, I just wanted to email you all as … Read more
Martha was referred to Shore House following an intentional overdose of prescription medication that nearly proved fatal, and which resulted in a hospital admission.
As Martha was too physically unwell to travel, the Shore House manager offered to conduct the initial assessment with her in hospital. Martha was offered a self-contained flat within Shore House and was subsequently discharged from hospital to Shore House with integrated support from an Occupational Therapist.
BHT Sussex’s Immigration Legal Service has helped hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers with legal support. Many of those we work with are ‘unaccompanied minors’; young people and children who have often endured unimaginable suffering, and who have no adults to look after their welfare when they arrive in the UK. We provide a crucial service for some of the most vulnerable people in our community, including victims of trafficking and domestic violence. This Is YL’s story. YL was living in Vietnam with her parents when tragically, when she was just 14, they both died within a short time of … Read more
BHT Sussex is a member of Pathfinder West Sussex – an alliance of organisations working together to enable people with mental health support needs, as well as their carers, to improve their mental health and wellbeing. As part of this offering, Pathfinder has many volunteer peer mentors. Peer Mentors use their lived experiences of mental health challenges to create a supportive environment where their clients can discuss their needs, as well as work towards achieving their goals and aspirations. This is the how one of our peer mentors, Lindsay, became a volunteer at Pathfinder. “I ended up in hospital due … Read more
Many clients who seek help from First Base, our day centre for people who are sleeping rough, have multiple and complex needs. When helping a person move away from rough sleeping and into more secure accommodation, the case workers at First Base consider all the physical and mental health needs a client may have. This approach helped Jim get off the streets. Read his story below. “Before I came to First Base, I had lost my supported accommodation and was rough sleeping on the streets. On my first visit to First Base, one of their case workers asked me if … Read more
For most of us we get our identity and status from what we do. BHT Sussex’s Intern Programme was set up to prepare people with a history of homelessness, mental ill health or addictions to make that transition from unemployment into work.
Charlie is a 32 year old white British male. He was born with congenital hand deformities, as well as structural defects which cause lifelong incontinence issues. Charlie was bullied during his school years and began using alcohol and cannabis aged 14. In his early 20’s he found employment as a telesales advisor and an early year’s child practitioner. However, each job didn’t last more than 12 months due to his increasing substance misuse.
Around half those sleeping rough in Brighton and Hove have a local connection. Others come to Brighton for many reasons: the image of the city that has attracted many of us, perhaps a happy childhood memory of visiting the seaside, or because of its reputation for tolerance and acceptance (for example drugs and the acceptance of LGBT people).
Very, very rarely does someone say that they came to Brighton because of the services for homeless people. Unfortunately, when people arrive in the city without a plan, without social networks, or without considerable financial resources, they can find themselves on the streets.
Michael is a 63 year old man who came to First Base in November 2017. He was new to Brighton and had become homeless after the break-up of his marriage and losing his job. He had moved to Brighton as he thought it would be a more tolerant place.
After going through the difficult journey of recovering from addiction and sleeping rough, being in secure employment can offer purpose to someone’s life. This is the story of Ross, who turned their life around with the help of our Intern Programme, and our Housing Services. “On 31st October 2014, I went into Mill View Hospital Promenade Ward for an alcohol and diazepam detox. Up until my hospital admission, I was street homeless, rough sleeping and begging for change on the streets of Brighton, Hove and Sussex. I was just over 8 stone in weight and had lost most of my … Read more