Homelessness

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  • Thanks. Oxford:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019­/jan/31/spike-in-deaths-of-oxford-rough-­sleepers-rocks-community-homeless

    I hope as many people as possible are in 'emergency' shelters or have some other kind of roof over their heads.

  • There's been a few people sleeping rough under the railway bridge (Harringay Green Lanes) on Green Lanes. They'd been there a while and had gradually spread out, had a stove under there, etc.

    For whatever reason the council seemed to have decided to move them on and have a "deep clean". This is their comments to one of the Councillors:

    Dear Councillor Brabazon
    Thank you for your enquiry regarding Green Lanes bridge (our reference LBH/ 8268719), where we have been working hard to address rough sleeping and street activity.
    Our Outreach Team including our Street Population Outreach Worker are working to support the individuals that are sleeping under the bridge, and those who are present during the day, away from the area and into accommodation and support.
    The people that are sleeping there have had their housing and support needs assessed and plans are in place to support them. I’m sure you’ll appreciate that I can’t share specific or identifiable personal information about individual circumstances due to data protection legislation.
    However, I can assure you that our street outreach teams and BUBIC are in contact with all of them on a regular basis. I know you are currently looking at a proposal by BUBIC for additional resources to work with the people there who are using drugs and alcohol and this is something we welcome and support. Whilst we have been fortunate to obtain a range of additional resources to tackle rough sleeping in the last 12 months, we have limited resource to provide substance use support on the streets and this is an issue that can trap people in a cycle of street homelessness, exploitation and vulnerability.
    We do recognise the impact this has on the community around Green Lanes and as such have worked with our colleagues in the police and community safety to deliver both supportive and enforcement based interventions to tackle the issues there. This has included regular multi-agency meetings, street cleansing operations (three such street cleanses have taken place since November), daily street outreach walkabouts and targeted support and housing offers for those who are willing and eligible to accept. We have stepped up this work in the last few weeks and will continue to do so until we have made some more progress with those involved. We would encourage businesses to ensure that areas such as bin stores and alleyways are kept securely locked wherever possible so that when people move from one area they are not easily able to move into another.
    The resolution to rough sleeping is usually much more than an offer of accommodation, as this example demonstrates, but where possible we seek to ensure that people are offered a route away from the streets at the very first opportunity. Sometimes this feels slow, but outreach work with vulnerable people involves building relationships and trust, ensuring that people are able to access the right support to address the concerns preventing them from entering accommodation which can include histories of trauma, abuse and exploitation as well as mistrust of professionals and chaotic drug dependency. To help us deliver our aims of ending rough sleeping in Haringey, we have commissioned a number of services, including the Haringey Crashpad and our single homeless Supported Housing Pathway. Unfortunately, our work can be obstructed by a number of issues out of our control, for example legislation preventing the use of public funds to accommodate people who have not exercised their treaty rights as EEA/EU migrants. This affects 65% of people rough sleeping in Haringey and all of those who are rough sleeping at Green Lanes. Nonetheless, we are able to offer employment support, rapid access to drug and alcohol services and a range of cold weather provision which is open to everyone regardless of immigration status.
    In terms of prevention work, Haringey Council and Homes for Haringey are guided by the Homelessness Reduction Act (2018). The prevention of homelessness is our priority and we encourage any individual that is homeless or threatened with homelessness to attend a housing needs appointment in order for their situation to be assessed and for a personalised housing plan to be created and actioned. We ask all residents, businesses and services to let us know as soon as they have concerns that an individual may be rough sleeping, by using the Streetlink service. Streetlink helps us track and monitor hotspot areas and understand how people move within boroughs and are drawn to particular locations so we do encourage residents and businesses to use this service.
    Yours sincerely,
    Charlotte Pomery
    Assistant Director Commissioning, Haringey Council

    Obviously the interesting point there is the EEA/EU migrants section. I can see the reasoning behind it but it isn't a comfortable point.

    EDIT: Some more detail from the police involved.

    There was an multi agency operation that took place on 31st January. This involved Council workers, Outreach teams and your six local police officers for both Harringay and St Anns ward. There was not a police raid and the rough sleepers were not searched by police. The operation was to help our most vulnerable not to bring enforcement.
    The council put up posters telling some of our most vulnerable in the borough, if they would like help from the outreach teams and the council, they will be there from 0800 on the 31st. The council managed to find somewhere to store their belongings while they sought help from the outreach teams.
    At no point during the operation, were they forced to move on by the council or the police. A dispersal zone was not discussed at any point.
    Two of the rough sleepers remained at the location to receive help and are engaging with the outreach teams.
    The items put into the bin lorry were checked thoroughly by the rough sleepers to make sure only unwanted items were binned.
    The cleaning was an essential part of the operation, it was not to move them on but to make sure that the area was clean if they decide to return.
    After the operation to help the vulnerable, there was a meeting involving all the partners about the rough sleepers in the Borough, the main focus was on getting them help, not moving them on. It is an ongoing process but everyone is working extremely hard to help the people involved.
    The operation was covered on Twitter, please follow @MPSHarringay for frequent updates on what your local policing team is doing.
    Alternatively, you can always email us at Harringay.SNT@met.police.uk if you want to ask us questions or have concerns. Please note, this is not a crime reporting email address. If you want to report a crime, please go to http://www.met.police.uk (ASB can be reported on here and goes through the same grading as a phone call) or call 999 (in an emergency) or call 101.

    (I don't know why using italics removes all the paragraphs.)

  • What is the legislation they are referring to?

    Also how does an individual exercise their treaty rights?

  • I assume it's the right to live here only if they can support themselves after three months. I'd guess it's excercised by having a job or sufficient savings to show they would not be a burden on public services.

  • Something saying that a change in counting method has reduced numbers to suit councils:

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019­/feb/25/english-councils-accused-of-hidi­ng-scale-of-homelessness-crisis

    Statements from both 'sides', no idea which is true.

    Also, I just don't understand why nobody at the Grauniad seemingly re-reads these articles--surely an easy-to-spot mistake like this needs to be corrected:

    In response to the figures, minister for homelessness MP said: “These claims are an insult to the hardworking outreach workers, local charities, and other groups that collate these figures and are independently verified by Homeless Link.

    Ah, but 'we rely on our readers', so presumably also to send in corrections.

  • San Franciso:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019­/mar/28/san-francisco-gofundme-homeless-­shelter-embarcadero

    When I was in San Francisco once in the early 90s, I was shocked by the level of homelessness there.

  • San Diego is properly something else for homelessness too.

  • Clerkenwell Fire Station, which was closed by B*r*s Johnson, is still empty. I suppose he ran out of time to flog it off as a 'free school'? (I have no idea if he meant to do that, but it was claimed at the time that one motivation for the closure of fire stations was that they wanted land for 'free schools'.)

    Now to be used as a temporary homeless shelter.

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/c­lerkenwell-fire-station-to-reopen-as-tem­porary-homeless-shelter-after-five-years­-lying-empty-at-a4121816.html

  • Good people taking the initiative in the absence of any meaningful action from the 'authorities':

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/o­ld-doubledecker-buses-upcycled-into-shel­ters-for-homeless-londoners-a4164836.htm­l

  • No, see upthread. It's repurposed funding (i.e., not a new funding announcement) that is totally inadequate. Meanwhile, the underlying causes are getting worse. Obviously, you wouldn't get that from the Government's own page.

  • The Guardian article linked to earlier in the thread says that £50 million has been diverted from other issues to fund services for homeless people?

    It seems slightly informed by partisanism to say that isn't meaningful but I guess that if they raise the money for the buses that will be a helpful addition to the services available.

  • Things like the buses only happen because people are being victimised left, right, and centre and turned out on the streets for a variety of reasons. It shouldn't be down to that sort of action having to be taken. The 'visible' level of homelessness, i.e. people begging for change, also hides the huge number who are in parlous circumstances, e.g. living in insecure hostels with young children.

    Whether it's £30m or £50m, it's completely inadequate considering millions of people suffering in the current climate. Whichever other issues it may have been diverted from are probably also important and can't do with a funding cut. As ever, even were the funding level higher, it would be tinkering around the edges and treating the symptoms rather than the causes.

    Any meaningful action needs to address the grotesque levels of inequality that the various 'governments' of the past x (insert number according to political views) years have brought about that are causing homelessness. Instead, we get the usual rubbish like: 'Oh, we need to build more homes!' No, there are easily enough homes to house everybody, and instead of continuing to feed the rapacious housing market we need to get to the root of the problem of this deeply unequal distribution.

    Neither is it any good to continue to force councils to pay huge sums to private slum landlords for hostel accommodation and the like, or to have the usual levels of 'charity', e.g. food 'banks' and soup kitchens to keep people just about alive, and that's not even to mention the abuse endured by migrants both inside and outside this country, as well as the fact that things like this are going on in every 'Western' country, be it the US, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the UK, or wherever.

  • Those homeless people are so terribly unsightly, they lower the tone.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019­/jun/17/removal-of-homeless-camps-treble­s-as-charities-warn-of-out-of-control-cr­isis

    In Northampton, Father Oliver Coss has housed a group of tents in the walled yard behind All Saints church in Mercers Row since November 2018. What started as three tents became 11 when the encampment was at its largest about a month ago. Now, about five people are staying there in three tents, with a fourth tent unoccupied.

    But Coss recently made the decision to ask those living in tents to leave after they refused to accept offers of support from the council, giving them 28 days’ notice. He said it was a hard decision to make but he felt it was best to support those living on the church grounds.

    It's difficult if people for whatever reason want to remain independent of the authorities:

    He added: “We have a lot of social problems and addictions. We just want to get out of reality and get high or drunk. Anything to help us through the day … There are too many rules in shelters, and they threaten you with eviction. So I may as well be in a tent and make my own rules.”

    It's often said that many hostels are unsafe.

    The Big Issue Foundation statement is good:

    “The growth in communities living outside is evidenced now across the country to the extent that it has become normalised enough to have been featured as a story arc in Coronation Street not that long ago. It is no wonder that the public are deeply upset about what they are seeing.

    “People are increasingly living in tents not because they have a newfound enthusiasm for camping. They are forced into creating communities outside because government and policymakers blankly refuse to join these issues and opportunities up to bring about a feasible end to a humanitarian crisis.”

  • On the subject of refusing support, one homeless person who did this was Anne Naysmith, who was tragically killed while crossing the street in Hammersmith nearly four years ago:

    https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/2625­58/

    The link to the relevant article directly:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree­/2015/feb/14/anne-naysmith-chose-to-rema­in-homeless

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Homelessness

Posted by Avatar for Oliver Schick @Oliver Schick

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