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
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.
The Court Duty Scheme is a little known but incredible service which provides last-minute emergency advice for people who are facing eviction. When repossession cases are being heard in Brighton, Lewes or Hastings Courts, our specialist Housing Advisers can step in to protect people and ensure they know their rights. These clients have usually never sought advice or representation before meeting our advisers that morning. Often alternatives to eviction can be worked out, debt payments can be renegotiated, and people can stay in their homes. This was the case with Sarah, whose story is below. Sarah is a housing association … 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.
Although BHT Sussex began in Brighton, our support services extend to much of East, West and Mid Sussex. In Mid Sussex specifically, we have supported accommodation services which deliver much needed practical help and mental health support to those who find themselves homeless. This is Joshua’s story; a client we supported through one such recovery focussed residential service in Mid Sussex. Joshua is a 33-year-old man who found himself homeless following the breakdown of a relationship. Unfortunately, before coming to us, Joshua had a history of repeat homelessness since he was 18, exemplifying the cycle of homelessness that BHT Sussex … Read more
For some it comes as a surprise that BHT Sussex runs an immigration and asylum legal service. The overwhelming majority of those we work with are ‘unaccompanied minors’, young people and children arriving in the UK with no adults to look after their welfare.
Baddar came to the UK in 2008 aged 15 fleeing persecution in Afghanistan. His initial asylum claim was refused. We assisted him with a further application to allow him to remain in the UK but this was also refused. After this, there have been numerous appeals with every decision seeming to go against him. We gathered evidence in support of his claim to show that he is particularly vulnerable as he has a learning difficulty and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression.
We gathered country evidence to support the fact that he would be at risk if he returned to Afghanistan.
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
The Hastings Young People’s Service does what the name suggests, providing accommodation and support for homeless young people in Hastings and St. Leonards. Frankie came to the service in October 2016. She had held a tenancy elsewhere but due to relationship breakdown, found it difficult to cope and was ultimately evicted. This left her homeless and socially isolated.
Frankie responded positively to having stability and a constant source of support from the staff team. She engaged well with her key worker using a PIE (Psychologically Informed Environment) approach and she was able to explore reasons for her isolation, history of self-harming, depression, aspirations and visualising what her future would look like. This helped Frankie understand her needs and make a plan to move on.
Struggling to find employment despite incredible effort can have a big impact on someone’s health and wellbeing. This was the case with Scotty, who found it difficult to identify a clear path into work after being failed by multiple services. This, coupled with the difficulty of managing a chronic illness, made Scotty feel hopeless. However, after working with BHT Sussex’s Intern Programme, who supported Scotty and his specific needs, Scotty found a way through. This is his story. Feeling hopeless “My life was pretty bleak for many years, and I did not see much of a future ahead of me. … Read more
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
Recovery from mental ill health and moving into independent accommodation can take several years and requires individuals rebuilding many parts of their lives. This is the account of one client from the Route One Project, another of BHT Sussex’s mental health services.
“Around five years ago my journey began in the Route One Project and from the bottom of my heart l am so thankful to you all for picking me up and dusting me off, ready for the new chapter l am in now. l am taking the skills and tools as l call it in to sustaining independent living in so many aspects. I moved into my council property in March 2018 and what we have achieved in the time in the project has been champion. I say we because that is what it has been – a team effort.
“I have Bipolar One and when l came to Route One l was in a state and l had just moved out of a hostel for homeless people. I am not putting down the great work they do but it was making my illness worse, resulting in me being admitted to hospital.
Terry had been long-term homeless and a regular visitor to First Base, our resource centre for rough sleepers in Brighton and Hove. Staff at First Base seized the opportunity presented by the extra support available during the Covid-19 pandemic to encourage Terry to end his rough sleeping for good. First Base has stayed open during the Covid-19 pandemic, but with reduced numbers to keep everybody safe. When the government launched its ‘Everyone In’ initiative, which aimed to get all rough sleepers off the streets, First Base supported Brighton and Hove City Council in its efforts to house rough sleepers, becoming … 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.