is planning to invest £100 million to end rough sleeping by 2027 throughout
England. The Rough Sleepers Initiative, announced in August 2018, aims to help
homeless people turn their life around and offer support and help with
addictions, mental health and accommodation, writes Jean Hindry.
The money will
be solely targeted at rough sleepers. Local authorities will not be able to
spend the money elsewhere, for example on refuse collection or lowering the council
tax and they will be made accountable. The aim is to unlock more homes, work
with charities and councils, find new ways and new initiatives. But it is
obvious that we are in for the long haul and cannot eradicate these momentous
and sensitive problems overnight.
Stevie-Jo Pasing, a 27-year-old homeless woman
being interviewed on the Victoria Derbyshire programme
on BBC, spoke of her family’s struggle to afford sanitary products. She
says the embarrassment she felt over her plight led to skipping class. Research
commissioned by the brand Always suggests girls who have experienced period
poverty are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression as women. Previous
research conducted on behalf of Always found more than 130,000 girls had missed
school due to period poverty.
• Find free pads/tampons for school students across the UK via Facebook
groups on www.redboxproject.org.
• The Tricky Period and Bloody Good Period also provide free pads, see
their websites – www.cilip.org.uk/page/TrickyPeriod and www.bloodygoodperiod.com. Also try asking if your local library stocks free items.
Through a freedom of information request, Inside Housing magazine
has learned that local authorities in England have increased spending on
temporary accommodation for homeless families by 56 per cent in five years.
Local authorities now spend about £1billion a year on temporary accommodation.
Meanwhile, Private Eye says welfare reforms have increased the number of
homeless people, stating that: “measures such as Universal Credit, the bedroom tax,
benefit cap and benefit freeze amount to a homeless creation policy.”
Nottingham City council has been forced to defend its plans to tackle anti-social
behaviour. According to the Huffington Post, it
will ban people from asking for money, personal items or other donations by
implementing Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO). PSPOs have been
controversial across England since their pilot in 2014. They allow councils to
create a framework intended to curb antisocial behaviour.
However, human rights advocacy group Liberty has accused the council of trying
to “airbrush their streets”.
Youth homelessness charity Rock Trust held its 25th annual sleep out in
October. The charity raised over £65,000 in 2017, and asks each participant to
aim to fundraise £250 for the sleep out. This year the fundraiser was held in
St Andrew Square in central Edinburgh. Rock Trust’s website says the charity houses
400 young people a year, and will use the sleep out’s raised funds to keep the
doors open to young rough sleepers, and invest in projects to help fight
Glasgow city council aims to form an alliance designed to tackle homelessness,
in what they call a “UK first”. The council is currently recruiting partners to
join the project, and will work with them for between seven and 10 years on various
schemes submitted by the partners. The alliance’s key aim will be to reduce the
time spent by people in homelessness services, and to provide homeless people with
an easier route to mainstream tenancies. It also looks set to involve many
people with first-hand experience of homelessness, reports Glasgow live.
With One Voice, the international arts and homeless movement founded by
Streetwise Opera is due to become an independent charity from 1 April 2019.
This November With One Voice will host a four-day summit and week-long festival
in Manchester, with more than 250 delegates from 15 countries. Half of the
summit’s delegate places will be given free to people who are or have been
homeless. Info at www.withone-voice.com/summit-festival
Tip of the
In October at the launch of Only A Pavement Away (see pic), Minister for
Housing & Homelessness, Heather Wheeler MP announced a new fund to make £20
million available for schemes that provide those who are homeless or sleeping
rough with better access to sustainable tenancies. She said: “We know that
rough sleeping is the tip of the iceberg. To break the cycle of homelessness,
we have to tackle the underlying issues – and that has to begin with
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan opened the newly remodelled New Belvedere House in September. The
residential facility aims to help veterans of the armed services off the
streets and get them into housing. Veterans Aid, a charity for rough sleeping
veterans, created and runs the project which can house 66 people. The Mayor’s
office says City Hall provided £1.6m to assist the refurbishment. Khan told those
attending the opening “it is completely unacceptable that anyone in London,
including veterans of our armed services, should have to sleep rough.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has a novel way of tackling homelessness. Foreign
property buyers will pay an extra tax of between 1% and 3%, as well as stamp
duty, in a move that is also hoped to halt rising UK house prices. May told
Andrew Marr on his BBC show that all the money raised by the tax will go
towards tackling rough sleeping. Housing charity Shelter was dismissive of the
plan, arguing that more social housing had to be built to relieve the homelessness
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), a government watchdog, has
said “it appears likely” that the charity St Mungo’s provided
the personal information about migrant rough sleepers to the Government. St Mungo’s has long denied its outreach team assisted the Home
Office enforcement teams, but the Guardian reports that Public Interest
Law Unit (PILU) filed a complaint against the charity, leading to the
watchdog’s investigation. PILU says this information was handed over without
the rough sleepers’ consent, and ICO believes this to be “feasible”. • The Home
Office had to stop their strict policy towards migrant rough sleepers after the
High Court ruled it unlawful.
For the past year homeless residents of Fort Worth, Texas, have been given
jobs in an effort to combat homelessness. American media company ATTN:
shared a video on Facebook showing how the city has hired homeless people to
clean the streets for US$10 an hour, plus temporary accommodation. According to
officials it has already had positive results, with almost 4,000 tons of
garbage collected in a year. “This is the way to fix a lot of the homeless
issues in 2018 and beyond,” said Brandon Bennett, one of the Clean Slate Scheme
Creative people from all walks of life, including those impacted by homelessness,
are donating their artworks for the Bad Behaviour December
“As well as raising money for the Pavement and St Mungo’s the art show aims to encourage visitors and participants
to look more closely at an issue that people all too often turn away from. It
will feature some art pieces that question stereotypes about homelessness, also
creating a space where homeless people are not only visible, but also creative and
relevant,” says organiser Araba
Call it a
Liverpool’s Mayor, Joe Anderson, has asked Home Secretary Sajid Javid to make attacks on
rough sleepers a hate crime. In a Crisis report from 2016 nearly a third of
rough sleepers surveyed said they had been deliberately hit. Around 45% had been
intimidated and 7% had been urinated on.