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News in Brief 147: Dec 2023 – Jan 2024

December 01 2023
News in Brief by Sophie Dianne


Suella Braverman really must reconsider her lifestyle choices. Stoking division and hate has led to her losing her job. In a cabinet reshuffle in mid-November, Suella was removed as Home Secretary. It’s unclear where next she plans to pitch her tent.

Home wrecking

Rough sleepers were left scared and appalled after their tents were destroyed in Camden, London in November. The Big Issue reports the tents were destroyed following a request by University College London Hospital (UCLH), where the tents had been set up close to a side entrance. A video taken by Street Kitchen went viral on social media, leading to a hurried statement from Camden Council promising an investigation into the matter. Streets Kitchen accused officials of “dropping the ball legally, morally and publicly.” Since the footage was released, Street Kitchen has received an uptake in donations, which it has put towards replacing the tents and any personal belongings that were lost.

Art news: Congratulations to Dave Sohanpal, who has co-curated an installation for the London College of Fashion’s (LCF) Designed for Life exhibition. Sohanpal is an Accumulate graduate and has also worked with the Drummond Street Artists. Accumulate is an art school for homeless people, while Drummond Street Artists is an artist collective for people affected by homelessness and mental health problems. Designed for Life is a free exhibition open until 19 January 2024 at LCF’s Stratford, east London campus. Sohanpal has co-curated an interactive living room installation, Nana’s House, telling the story of a woman’s journey from Nigeria to Leytonstone. Picture © Jack Elliot Edwards
– Visit the exhibition web page for more information, including address and opening times:

New high (new low)

According to Citizens Advice data, a record number of people in England are seeking homelessness support. The charitable organisation helped more than 8,000 people with homelessness issues in October, the highest monthly figure it has ever recorded. Sky News reports more than 2,000 private renters approached Citizens Advice that same month after being served Section 21 no-fault eviction notices, also a record-high. Citizens Advice is calling for an immediate increase in Local Housing Allowance, which has been frozen since 2020.

Quarterly count

Between July and September 2023, 4,068 people were found to be sleeping on the streets by outreach teams in London. This represents the highest quarterly figure of people counted rough sleeping in the capital since records began. It is a 12% increase on the same period in 2022 and more than half the people counted in the 2023 figure were sleeping rough for the first time. Analysis by Alma Economics, commissioned by the cross-party group London Councils, found almost 60,000 London renters could be pushed into homelessness by 2030.

Football friends: The Salvation Army’s 12th annual Partnership Trophy was held in Manchester in late September, featuring 28 five-a-side football teams from Salvation Army homelessness services across the UK. Each team was made up of people from Lifehouses (supported accommodation), outreach programmes and Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) services. The Salvation Army’s Cardiff-based Ty Gobaith Lifehouse lifted the trophy, presented by England legend Peter Shilton, with current England star John Stones also in attendance. Malcolm Page, assistant director of the Homelessness Services Department for The Salvation Army, said: “The Partnership Trophy is a great opportunity to celebrate everyone within our homelessness services”. Picture © Peter Powell Photography

Finding a way

In its first year of operation, Fair Way Scotland, the charity set up to support migrants facing homelessness, supported 1,205 people, through housing, advice and cash packages. Fair Way Scotland helps people who are locked out of accessing essential support because of the UK’s punitive immigration policies.  Many migrants, including asylum seekers and EU nationals are excluded from receiving state support because of their immigration status. Fair Way Scotland was set up to mitigate the devastating effects of UK immigration policy and has services in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Responding to Fair Way Scotland’s figures, Sabir Zazai, CEO of Scottish Refugee Council, told STV News: “Safe housing and legal advice is more important than ever as the UK government continues to pursue hostile policies and deny people their basic human rights.”

Paws for thought

A 20-year-old cat that had recently been made homeless was looking for new owners in October. LV was being cared for by the Cats Protection Adoption Centre (CPAC), having been left homeless in Glasgow. CPAC say LV looks young for her age, which equates to being roughly 96 years old in cat years.

Crisis incoming

The Home Office has been criticised by Glasgow City Council (GCC), which has warned of an impending “humanitarian crisis” of homelessness among refugees. GCC highlights that the Home Office is planning to bulk-process asylum applications, while simultaneously closing accommodation for asylum seekers. Glasgow officials predict that about 1,800 applications will be given refugee status, estimating 1,400 of them will become homeless owing to a lack of suitable accommodation. Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow city council, told the Guardian: “We are prepared to work with the Home Office to help them approach cases in Glasgow in a planned and structured way, if they provide us with the resources.”

Picture perfect:
Cafe Art, in collaboration with MyWorld and Pehchan, launched the MyMumbai project in September. The project is similar to Cafe Art’s MyLondon project. A total of 50 Fujifilm cameras were distributed to 50 people sleeping rough in Mumbai. Every single camera was returned, with 1,350 photos taken. Of these pictures, 33 were placed under consideration to be featured in the MyMumbai 2024 calendar, which will feature 13 photos, in November. A crowdfunder for the calendar was set to be launched in late 2023. Picture © Vishnu Rajput, Pehchan

Law breakers

The City of Edinburgh council has breached legislation preventing homeless people from being placed in unsuitable temporary accommodation a staggering 2,200 times over the past year and a half. The Herald revealed in early November that the council placed people experiencing homelessness in unfit temporary housing 772 times in the first six months of 2023.

Tipping point

Ewan Aitken, CEO of Cyrenians Scotland, believes Edinburgh is approaching a “tipping point” in its housing emergency. The Daily Record reported in November that Edinburgh City Council had voted to declare a housing emergency, with other councils likely to follow suit. Aitken said he hoped the announcement would lead to “funding being directed to housing and land being made available to build new homes.” The Daily Record had earlier reported on councils’ over-reliance on unsuitable temporary accommodation and increased levels of rough sleeping in the capital.

Success story

Last year Andrew (not his real name) was one of the many guests at Glasgow City Mission’s (GCM) Overnight Welcome Centre (OWC), a winter shelter for people experiencing homelessness. While staying at the OWC, Andrew received support from GCM’s dedicated Housing Settlement Officers, staff supporting guests into settled accommodation. With their help, Andrew now has a home of his own. This winter’s OWC is open from 1 December to 31 March. Find out more about the OWC here: