Help for people sleeping rough
We work closely with our partner agencies to understand and meet the needs of rough sleepers in Eastbourne and Lewes district.
This page provides information for anyone who is at risk of or experiencing rough sleeping and anyone who knows or works with those who are.
What to do if you are concerned about someone rough sleeping
StreetLink is a nationwide service that enables members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them. You can report concerns about rough sleepers at any time to Streetlink via their website. They also have a smartphone app you can download to make reporting quicker.
Reporting will automatically trigger an alert to outreach services to check on the welfare of the person rough sleeping and offer them support and advice.
What to do in an emergency
If someone is unwell or distressed please telephone 999.
Do not put yourself in danger or approach someone acting strangely, even to help the person.
Rough sleepers outreach service
This service is funded by the Rough Sleeping Initiative. It carries out proactive outreach work, generally between 4am and 7am.
- Identifies people who are rough sleeping
- Helps rough sleepers to connect with local services and support
- Supports people to reconnect with their home authority if appropriate
Additional engagement sessions are undertaken throughout the week, with targeted interventions supported by a dedicated team of multi-disciplinary specialists.
Lewes District and Eastbourne Borough Council services for rough sleepers
If you are sleeping rough you can make an appointment with our Specialist Advisor for Rough Sleepers at Lewes District Council or Eastbourne Borough Council.
Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)
The council delivers a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) in-line with national guidance from Homeless Link.
The protocol has two key aims:
- To ensure that every effort is made to engage with individuals during the extreme weather period so that they can access appropriate services, and
- To ensure that no one dies on the streets due to extreme weather.
There is no single definition of severe weather - any conditions that increase the risk of harm to people sleeping rough can be classed as severe. This includes extreme cold, wind, snow, rain and heat.
SWEP will be activated in Lewes district and Eastbourne during severe weather conditions and will be published on our website. We will also inform relevant local services when SWEP is activated.
We will provide accommodation for anyone who is sleeping rough when the temperature falls below zero for just one night, rather than observing national guidance which states accommodation only needs to be provided when the temperature falls for three nights or more.
Our team goes out and about providing accommodation to people sleeping rough and letting them know about the support that is available.
The accommodation is usually in a local church hall and those who wish to access the service should make contact with us as soon as possible. If you are sleeping rough yourself or have concerns for anyone who is sleeping rough and do not have internet access or cannot get to the council offices, then please telephone us.
During normal working hours, please contact us using these details:
Outside of office hours
Rough Sleepers Initiative
Hastings Borough Council and Eastbourne Borough Council received funding from 1 October 2018 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to work with partners to:
- Improve the accessibility of services to the most entrenched rough sleepers
- Provide access to support services
- Provide access to temporary accommodation
Access to long term housing solutions
The Rough Sleepers Initiative (RSI) works with the most complex cases across the two boroughs. Rough sleepers will be assessed, with those who have the most complex multiple needs being prioritised for the programme. This allows intensive assessment and support work to be undertaken by the multi-disciplinary team and our statutory service partners to break the cycle of rough sleeping.
The RSI is a holistic service and includes:
- A 12 bed Assessment Unit in St Leonards-on-Sea
- Support staff based at day centres in both towns (the Salvation Army in Eastbourne, and the Seaview Project in Hastings)
- Outreach and Street Engagement sessions, which allows members of the team to provide specialist targeted support
The project will have 20 individual flats across both areas where ongoing housing and tenancy support will be provided by dedicated workers.
Additional emergency units are being developed, and when ready will allow individuals to be placed immediately and to receive appropriate support.
The RSI has a dedicated team of multi-disciplinary specialists. They work across all aspects of the project and support clients throughout their accommodation pathway. The team includes:
- A psychiatric nurse
- Two medical nurses
- A social worker
- A housing specialist
- A substance misuse specialist
Referrals from the project can be made through the council's Housing Needs team. To access the RSI in the Eastbourne area, please contact the Housing Needs team.
Eastbourne rough sleepers meeting
This monthly meeting is run by the Rough Sleeping Initiative. Services involved in the delivery of the initiative attend the meetings to ensure:
- The needs of rough sleepers are assessed
- The risk of harm is minimised
- That action plans are discussed and agreed
- That progress is monitored between agencies
Other local services for rough sleepers
There are local services available to people who are rough sleeping or 'sofa-surfing'.
Details about these services on our Food provision in Eastbourne factsheet.
Salvation Army - daycentre
- Showers available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am - midday
- Clothes washing facilities
- Hot drinks and snacks available for a small fee
- Advice and help, drop-ins, signposting, computers and phones available
Open Monday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm and on Fridays from 8.30am to 4pm.
Matthew 25 - daycentre
- Providing food, clothing and basic necessities
- Breakfast provided daily with lunch provided on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm
Telephone: 01323 726960
Eastbourne Winter Night Shelter
The Eastbourne Winter Night Shelter is provided by several Eastbourne churches cooperating together and offers supervised overnight accommodation to homeless and vulnerable people who would otherwise be rough sleeping between December and February.
All guests must be interviewed prior to admission.
For referrals and assessment interviews telephone 07932 407730. Interviews are by appointment only.
Kingdom Way Trust
Kingdom Way Trust oversee the Winter Night Shelter on behalf of local churches. They also run three other projects:
- The Bridge
- Hope into Action
- Hope Woodwork.
The Bridge and Hope into Action are accommodation schemes. Hope Woodwork is a carpentry and furniture making programme. The service is not exclusively for rough sleepers and works with individuals on the gradual development of skills for work.
For more information visit kingdomwaytrust.org
BHT Housing Advice Service
Provides housing advice for rough sleepers or those at risk of rough sleeping.
Open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm and Fridays from 9am to 4.30pm.
A drug and alcohol recovery service which supports people aged 18 upwards to:
- Make lifestyle and behavioural changes
- Improve health and wellbeing
- Increase independence and self-determination.
Drop in times (for people without an appointment) run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 1pm and Tuesday from 1.30pm to 5pm.
HomeWorks provides a generic floating support service that can support rough sleepers or those at risk of rough sleeping.
Referrals must be made through the local authority. Contact your Housing Needs officer to discuss further.
East Sussex Floating Support Service (formerly known as STEPS)
East Sussex Floating Support Service (ESFSS) provides housing and advice for people aged over 60.
Telephone: 01323 636448
How to join our housing register
To apply for council housing you must first join our housing register.
To find out if you are eligible and how to apply visit the housing register page of this website