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Zulu council in London

March 10th 2011

Designed to bring together all parts of the homelessness sector, a meeting of agencies took place at London's Bloomsbury Baptist Church on Saturday 12 February. The meeting, named Indaba after the Zulu word meaning council, was organised by the Simon Community and Housing Justice and involved both professionals and volunteers, as well as people with direct experience of rough sleeping.

The Indaba was called to discuss the issue of street homelessness, in the wake of the Mayor of London's ambitious pledge to 'end rough sleeping' in London by the end of 2012. In the face of looming cuts and with the numbers of rough sleepers on the rise, the Simon Community feels that serious questions must asked about whether the Mayor's target is achievable, or even desirable.

Facilitated by Andy Benson, participants at the meeting were organised into groups and invited to discuss the question: "Ending street homelessness: What's the problem?" The topic generated much debate but those present agreed that the key causes of street homelessness include the shortage of emergency accommodation and the lack of uniform mental health assessment and provision.

During the second half of the meeting, groups discussed possible solutions to the problem of rough sleeping. The agencies agreed that, if the Mayor's 'zero tagret' is to be met, there needs to be better coordination between professional' and voluntary organisations. What's more, as some rough sleepers find dealing with authority figures difficult and stressful, barriers need to be broken down between professionals and clients.

Those present also noted that, if the 2012 target is to be reached, it is essential to involve service users in decisions about how services are run. The Simon Community felt the Indaba was a success, but it was agreed that another meeting should be held to explore in more detail the differences in approaches towards the problem of rough sleeping.


March 2011



From frumpy to funky: "Fab pads" launch nationwide with style

Government action needed to address youth homelessness rise

Public help bring empty homes back into service

Ethical caf?© gives homeless chance to make a change

Sleeping uneasy

Changes to Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau

SIFA Fireside holds memorial service

New service user led forum

Diamonds in the Rough art exhibition

Cannock church shelter discussions

Westminster plan ban

Update on Poncho?

Detail on the Hub

Second phone count

Winter shelters follow the pack

Funding nothing new

Ex-rough sleeper up for literary prize

Reading police seek help in murder

Tent city recognised in Seattle

HRH at Arlington hostel

Zulu council in London

Squats for rent?

Debut album with royal backing

Heroin drought

Homeless to Harvard

Street Shield 20: Home again!


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