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.
He used the facilities at First Base (showers, breakfast and lunch) and engaged with a case worker. He described a sense of shock that his life had changed so quickly and that he had become street homeless. He stated that he had always worked for a living but felt that his age was discouraging employers from giving him work opportunities.
As the weather deteriorated over the winter months, he came to the severe weather shelter run last year at First Base. After being referred by his case worker at First Base, he was able to get a place in the Brighton Centre Night Shelter run by the City Council. He continued to work with his case worker at First Base who helped him to explore opportunities for accommodation and referred him to a housing association in the Midlands. Michael went for an interview, was accepted, and moved into his new home in January 2018.
Since moving into his new home in the Midlands, he has made new friends, and feels very settled and content. He has been applying for jobs and has completed a welding course.
He said he would not have been able to make positive changes so quickly if he hadn’t engaged with First Base. He describes the support we provided as ‘invaluable’.