Combating Homelessness, Creating Opportunities, Promoting Change

High Sheriff Visits Brighton Advice Centre

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High-Sheriff-Brighton-Advice-CentreThe High Sheriff of East Sussex, Juliet Smith, visited BHT’s Brighton Advice Centre in Queens Road on Thursday, accompanied by BHT Board member and former High Sheriff, Hugh Burnet, and BHT chief executive, Andy Winter.

High Sheriff was shown the work undertaken by the Advice Centre, including the Court Duty Scheme that BHT operates in Brighton, Eastbourne, Lewes and Hastings County Courts. The Court Duty Scheme ensures that people attending Court and who are facing eviction can get proper representation.

BHT also operates an Immigration Legal Service that provides publicly funded advice and representation in all areas of asylum law, and immigration cases involving domestic violence and human trafficking for exploitation.

Juliet aslo heard how a BHT’s new Webcam Advice service operates, allowing those who can’t come in for face to face advice to get advice through Skype.

BHT runs three advice centres, in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings, and provides representation to people on housing matters in the Brighton, Eastbourne, Lewes and Hastings County Courts.

I was fascinated to learn how multi-faceted BHT is, the value of that being there can be so much more valuable interaction between the various agencies. BHT covers not just Brighton and Hove but has centres in Eastbourne and Hastings ensuring consistency across our city and county.

I was also enormously impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the staff who increasingly have to work under challenging circumstances. BHT has a real heart.

Juliet Smith,The High Sheriff of East Sussex

Our housing casework and advice is aimed at preventing homelessness, and sustaining tenancies and owner occupation. We support households to manage their costs by alleviating debt and poverty and where possibly maximising incomes. We assist clients to access social housing where possible, but increasingly they are having to turn to the private rented sector. We also take action to see an improvement in housing conditions and wellbeing in all housing sectors.

“There are huge benefits from our work, not just to the individuals who we advise and represent, but we help to reduce the costs to local authorities of housing homeless households and administering homelessness applications.

“We help to reduce the number of individuals representing themselves in Court, thereby slowing down Court time and putting unnecessary pressure on the judiciary.”

Andy Winter, BHT Chief Executive

Did you know?...

The office of High Sheriff is a ceremonial role, the sheriffs being appointed annually by the Crown through a warrant from the Privy Council.

It is the oldest Royal appointment in the land. The word “sheriff” is a contraction of the term “shire reeve” – a royal official responsible for keeping the peace, a “reeve”, throughout a shire or county on behalf of the monarch.

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