Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue

February – March 2024 : The little things READ ONLINE

RECENT TWEETS

Zulu council in London

March 09 2011
Is the Mayor‘s 2012 target achievable or even desirable?


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.

BACK ISSUES