Jewish care home in Brighton to be used as homeless shelter this winter

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Jewish care home in Brighton to be used as homeless shelter this winter

Hyman Fine House is being temporarily repurposed by St. Mungo's while its owners deal with legal issues before a sale in 2023

Hyman Fine House in Brighton.
Hyman Fine House in Brighton.

Homeless people in Brighton are to live in an empty Jewish care home on the south coast over winter after its Jewish charitable owner struck a deal with homelessness charity St. Mungo’s.

Hyman Fine House, just yards from the beach, is being sold by Jewish Care, but delays – and a timely approach from St. Mungo’s – mean that it is being temporarily repurposed to address high levels of homelessness in Brighton and Hove.

The agreement follows discussion that involved the Sussex Jewish Representative Council (SJRC) and the Brighton and Hove Jewish Welfare Board. The rental income from the short-term leasing of the building will benefit the local Jewish community.

Jewish Care chief executive Daniel Carmel-Brown said his team was “proud” to be working with St Mungo’s and the local Jewish community to help get the region’s homeless people off the streets and into shelter over winter.

In a joint statement, the Sussex Jewish Representative Council and the Welfare Board said: “We are pleased that Hyman Fine House will not be left empty during the winter and that, in keeping with the Jewish tradition of charity and outreach, it will be used for shelter for those in need in our city.

“We continue to plan additional support and services for those older people in our community with the assistance of Jewish Care. The rental income will be added to the funds available for our communal use for the benefit of the elderly.”

The home has lain empty since July of this year, but its sale has now been delayed into 2023, with Jewish Care citing “the uncertainty of the current economic climate and some legal processes to resolve around the building and the Trust under which it is held”.

It argued that keeping Hyman Fine House vacant for months over winter “would not be responsible in terms of protecting the security of the building”, adding that the home’s synagogue would remain locked and inaccessible to St Mungo’s.

Rabbi Pesach Efune in Brighton, the home’s registered manager Natasha Carson, and members of the community have safely removed all religious and sentimental items from the property and either reunited them with the gifting families or else secured them off-site “until they find new homes”.

St. Mungo’s said Hyman Fine House will be used for their ‘No Second Night Out’ programme, which aims to limit the amount of time people have to spend sleeping on the streets.

It is a rapid assessment and reconnection service, providing people with food, accommodation, and personalised support while a longer-term home is found.

“We are really grateful to Jewish Care and the Sussex Jewish Representative Council for the opportunity to temporarily use the building, so we can operate this vital service,” said St Mungo’s regional head, Rahul Sen.

“It means we can ensure people have a safe and warm place to stay and receive specialised support, instead of being on the streets. We are looking forward to working together and being the best neighbours that we can be to the local community.”

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