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|Street Homelessness (Rough Sleeping debate). In Feb., I wandered into Covent Garden, armed with some cardboard, and bedded down for a night. I wanted to understand what the govt strategies are to end street homelessness. I also wanted to look at what effect the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 is likely to have. The No Second Night Out programme is a good example of an early intervention service. It was launched in 2011 by Boris Johnson. It aims to ensure that no one, once identified, spends a second night sleeping rough in central London. More recently, Sadiq Khan has gone further and set up the No Nights Sleeping Rough Taskforce. Apart from the proactiveness of the agencies that are helping, I noticed some other differences. In Feb.2018 the majority of the people I came across living on the streets were foreign nationals. Information collected by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network run by charity St Mungo's records that, in 2016-17, of the rough sleepers in London for whom nationality information was available, 30% were from central and eastern Europe. The figure for non-UK nationals overall was 52.6%...
Melanie Onn: Does (the hon. Gentleman) accept that, UK-wide, only 4% of rough sleepers in England are non-European Union nationals and 16% are EU non-UK nationals? ... asylum seekers, complex needs, substance abusers, poor mental health, loneliness, rough sleeping is complex. I think that the number of rough sleepers has much to do with the very high levels of eastern European immigration over the last few years.
Paul Blomfield: I did the 6 am shift with police community support officer in Sheffield, where I met all the people sleeping in doorways and stairwells. None of them were foreign nationals — they were all British—and they all had the sort of complex problems that he describes. Holloway: We have to accept that some people are able to sleep rough in our cities because there are the resources to do so. perhaps it is time to ask ourselves whether it is exploitative to build an economy on cheap labour provided by those who can barely afford to accommodate themselves in our country. Housing crisis... We must also address the issue of how people’s generosity can sometimes be as much part of the problem as the solution. The man I met near Victoria station spent the night drinking beer bought with £30 that kind members of the public had come up and given him that evening. ... if he had not been given money by the public for so long he would have sought help much sooner. ... We have to treat homeless people as individuals. We have to segment people to some extent, so that we do not mask the problems of the people at the very bottom of our society, who—at the moment and for generations—we have not managed to reach.
- Street Homelessness: Westminster Hall debate. Hansard, Parliament.uk, Apr.24.2018.
- Sleeping rough in London is 'a lot more comfortable' than army exercises, says Tory MP (Video). Adam Holloway, the MP for Gravesham in Kent and a former army officer, has said that sleeping rough is a lot more comfortable than military exercises during a debate he led on tackling homelessness. He said begging was also part of the problem, allowing homeless people to make 'quite a lot of money and that 'people’s generosity can sometimes be as much part of the problem as part of the solution'. The Guardian, Apr.24.2018.