Sleeping rough on the streets

Lincoln homeless sleeping rough in abandoned shop doorways

Lincoln homeless sleeping rough in abandoned shop doorways

In Lincoln, Aldershot, Hackney, there are people sleeping rough on the streets. They are found in shop doorways. The same can be found in every town centre. Like food banks, it is a sign of the times, a measure of the failure of austerity and the evil policies pursued by the Tory government, who in the last five years have enabled the rich to double their wealth.

Hackney has decided to tackle the problem. By housing the homeless, for which they have a statutory responsibility to house?

Er no, they are are going to fine the homeless £1000 or an on-the-spot £100 fine.

These are the people at the bottom of the heap, they are penniless. How are they going to pay a £100 fine let alone a £1000 fine?

If they they do not pay, what then? Throw them in prison. At least they then wil be fed and housed.

It will be cheaper to house them rather than throw them in prison.

Is it now to be a criminal offence for being homeless?

Tweedledee v Tweedledum, can anyone tell the difference? A Labour-controlled council doing the Tory’s dirty work.

Hackney Council’s new Public Space Protection Orders  will give police and council officers the power to ban “anti-social” activities such as sleeping rough or begging. Those who breach an order could be issued with a £100 fixed penalty notice or a fine of £1,000.

As homeless charities have pointed out, this will criminalise the homeless who are already vulnerable. It is absurd to impose a fine of £1,000 on somebody who is already homeless and struggling. People should not be punished for the “crime” of not having a roof over their head – there is nothing inherently “anti social” or criminal about rough sleeping. Criminalising rough sleeping privileges the appearance of Hackney and the convenience of customers over the damage caused to the vulnerable and homeless.

Kay Zell Huxley, a duty manager at a pub in the area was reported to have admitted that the “vagrants hanging around” do “respect the businesses and the pubs and are generally well behaved.” It is completely unjustifiable to criminalise these people simply because they “may be intimidating for people outside.” We should not privilege the convenience and desire of customers to have a good night out without having to see any homeless people over the lives and rights of those who are homeless and vulnerable.

We already know that homeless people are amongst the most vulnerable in our society and are already victims of exceptionally high levels of violence, crime and victimisation which is often committed by the general public and largely goes unreported. Researchers at the London School of Economics confirmed this in a study commissioned by Crisis as far back as  2004 and the rate of homelessness has only increased since then.  We should not allow measures which will make the lives of those with nowhere else to go even harder than they already are.

We have seen public pressure stop similar measures when they were proposed by Oxford City Council. Let’s make sure we also stop this in Hackney and everywhere else it is proposed – we must force councils and policy makers to deal with the lack of affordable housing and rising levels of homelessness in London as a whole, rather than allow them to get away with shifting the “problem” into another borough.

Being homeless in Hackney is now defined as a anti-social activity. What of the Rachman landlords who evict people and make them homeless?

There has been no consultation by Hackney prior to bringing in these Draconian measures.

Please  sign this petition.

Let’s make sure that Hackney Council doesn’t make rough sleeping harder than it already is!

How many of those on the streets are there because of the Bedroom tax, benefit sanctions?

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8 Responses to “Sleeping rough on the streets”

  1. keithpp Says:

  2. keithpp Says:

  3. keithpp Says:

  4. keithpp Says:

    Fines For Homeless People From Hackney Council Petitioned By Thousands
    Ellie Goulding challenges British councils for treatment of homeless
    Councils should help rough sleepers, not fine them

  5. keithpp Says:

    Excellent news, Hackney has backed down and will no longer be fining people for sleeping rough on the streets.

    https://www.change.org/p/hackney-council-stop-criminalising-hackney-s-rough-sleepers/u/11012313

    Now we need to see Hackney help homeless people and to deal with the root causes of homelessness.

  6. keithpp Says:

  7. keithpp Says:

    I spent Monday night under a blanket on a park bench at Gatwick Airport. Does that make me a rough sleeper?

    http://wp.me/pEcZI-8jW

  8. nilsvisser Says:

    I only have a roof over my head because a mate of mine gave me a small caravan to live in. Winter without heating was something else, but I’m one of the lucky ones I guess.

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