Police dismantle soup kitchen for London homeless, evict activists.

Social justice activists determined to feed the homeless have faced eviction for the second time following their attempts to open a soup kitchen in Westminster, in the heart of London. They were forcibly ousted by police Tuesday night.

Following their eviction from a listed Victorian building near Trafalgar Square they had been occupying in the run-up to Christmas, the group decided to set up a soup kitchen outside.

Since December 25, they had been distributing food, coffee and tea outside the vacant offices to people sleeping rough on the streets of London.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the group, who call themselves the ‘Love Activists’ said that the situation facing the homeless in central London has hit crisis point. Services to help the homeless in the area are woefully inadequate, they argued, with all dedicated centers due to remain closed until January 3.

Since charities like Shelter and Crisis have now finished their own Christmas campaigns that feed thousands of homeless ‘The Love Activists’ are one of the only groups protecting the vulnerable now the group warned saying it would not be moved on by the council,

But on Tuesday night, police officers and council staff forcibly ousted the activists from the area and forced them to dismantle their soup kitchen.

It is thought the authorities wanted to clear the street in preparation for New Year’s Eve festivities.

A member of the Love Activists described the standoff, which culminated in eventual eviction, as “class warfare.”

Prior to Christmas, the group occupied the building near Trafalgar Square with the intention of offering a free and nutritious festive meal to homeless Londoners on Christmas Day.

They made their way into the five-story building on the morning of December 20, having discovered a fire escape door that was open. Following their entry, the activists claimed on their Facebook page the building had been “taken by the people.”

The campaigners made the decision to occupy the premises and offer food to Londoners who have fallen on hard times in protest at rising levels of inequality in Britain, and an ever-growing housing crisis.

The protesters faced eviction from the building, however, on the morning of December 24. Nevertheless, a high court judge amended the eviction injunction that evening to allow the group to regain access to prepare a festive meal for local homeless people on December 25.

The Love Activists subsequently provided a simple lunch to homeless people who made their way to the office block on Christmas Day.

The building’s recent history resonates deeply with the focus of the group’s protest. It had previously been rented by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), a scandal-ridden bank which required an astronomical bailout at UK taxpayers’ expense.

One of the Love Activists, 22-year-old Danny Freeman, told The Guardian that the fact the building was previously leased by RBS made the group’s core message of “homes not banks” more profound.

In the aftermath of a 2008 banking crisis, which brought Britain’s economy to its knees, RBS was nationalized and bailed out by British taxpayers. It is currently 79 percent owned by the state.

Years later, a lawsuit against RBS remains ongoing. Former executives at the bank stand accused of deceiving its shareholders. In a climate of grueling austerity, characterized by relentless cuts to social services, the RBS bailout cost UK taxpayers £45 billion.

Earlier this month, it emerged that glaring failures by local authorities to protect vulnerable children and teenagers in Britain have reduced them to sleeping rough on the streets, on night buses, in police stations and in drug dens. Many are thought to be at high risk of abuse.

According to Crisis the leading homelessness charity in Britain, 2,414 people across the nation are estimated to be sleeping rough each night. This marks a 37 percent increase since 2010, when the current Conservative-led government came to power.

Despite Tuesday night’s eviction, the Love Activists are determined to continue providing food and clothing to homeless people in central London. The group reportedly re-erected their soup kitchen in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday morning in front of the National Portrait Gallery.

Vulnerable Man evicted by Private Landord in London. What follows is shocking.

 

FOURTEEN people were arrested at the eviction protest.

An estimated 40 police officers broke up the demonstration in Lymington Road after a stand-off began at around 3pm.

The campaigners said a tenant had been ordered to leave private rented accommodation after a council inspector had ruled that the room he was renting was too small to live in.

Pamela Aukle, 45, from the KUWG, who was arrested during the protests, said the man – known as Mark – had “no money” and the “council have nothing for him”.

“Anything they offer is outside of Camden,” she added.

Police described the high-level presence as a “proportionate response”.

The landlord was not available for comment.

Homelessness news – Romford ‘hero’ unearths bedroom tax loophole which could see 40,000 receiving a refund

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Up to 40,000 people will receive a refund thanks to a Romford “hero” after he discovered that the government have wrongly assessed who is liable for the bedroom tax.

A conservative estimate puts the cost to the government at £26million.

Peter Barker, a freelance benefits specialist, of Hillfoot Avenue Romford, discovered the loophole in December but last week the Department for Work and Pensions confirmed his analysis.

By his estimations, up to 90 tenants in Havering could be eligible for an average refund of £770.

It has also been reported that the suicide of the woman from Solihull who, in a note, blamed her death on the financial strains aggravated by the bedroom tax would have been exempt and, if she was still alive, eligible for a refund.

Mr Barker, 53, spotted the oversight made by the DWP in legislation they drafted in 1996. Housing benefit regulations from 1996 were not updated when the coalition created the bedroom tax.

He said: “I just put my findings onto an online discussion forum. I just expected people to find it interesting but instead in went viral.

“There was such a twitter storm over this. Until December I had just one follower and that was my sister-in-law. Now I’ve got people contacting on me on there hailing me as a hero.”

He explained that the area of legislation had become far to overcomplicated and described it as “an accident waiting to happen”.

The bedroom tax sees working age council and housing association tenants with spare bedrooms lose up to 25 per cent of their housing benefits.

It affected 660,000 claimants meaning they either had to move homes, find a way to pay the deficit or downsize to a smaller property.

Peter Barker on his revelations BELOW

In December, I suggested that council and housing association tenants getting housing benefit for the same home since 1996 are exempt from the bedroom tax. Last week ministers acknowledged that my analysis is correct. Councils are now indentifying tenants eligible for refunds.

The refund is available to people whose housing benefit is reduced by the bedroom tax and who have been on housing benefit for the same home since January 1996 without a break. One break of up to four weeks is ignored and a longer break is ignored if you started work after being long term sick and then became sick again within 52 weeks.

In some cases, the exemption can be passed from one person to another.

Some councils are finding that their records as far back as 1996 are not easy to search and in some cases have been destroyed completely. So if you think you qualify for the exemption contact the council’s benefits department.

If the council does not agree that you qualify, you can appeal as long as the council receives it within 13 months of the original bedroom tax decision last year. For most people this will be around the end of March so there is still time.

Huge rise in food bank use in summer holidays as demand increases due to children and free school meals

While doing research for the making of the film I’ve slept rough, raised funds and worked with the homless and worked in the foodbanks of South East London.JL1

Food banks across Britain are being inundated with requests for emergency meals as families struggle to feed their children through the school holidays.

The Trussell Trust, which runs the country’s largest network of food banks, says this is the busiest summer it has ever experienced, with some of its branches seeing double the number of requests for emergency parcels since the start of the school holidays.

Parents whose children ordinarily receive free school lunches are among those struggling the most, as they now have to find an extra meal every day. The trust says the situation is worse than last summer because of rising food prices which despite falling slightly in the latest Government figures are more than 4 per cent higher than last year and the impact of the Coalition’s welfare changes that were launched in April.

A lag in data collection means that complete national statistics are not yet available, but snapshot figures from 18 food banks around the country show that all have seen demand rise during the summer break. In Grantham, Lincolnshire, for example, the food bank gave parcels to 219 people in July, a 61 per cent increase on the previous month. In Redcar, Teesside, the increase from June to July was 71 per cent, while Dundee’s food bank gave out 538 food parcels in July, a 43 per cent increase on June.

The free food is only given out to those whose situation is critical and who are referred to the trust by frontline workers such as doctors, social workers and Citizens Advice Bureaux

Chris Mould, executive chairman of the Trussell Trust, said: “This is the busiest summer we’ve had. If people are on low incomes and they’re struggling to cope with price increases and making ends meet, if you remove one of the supports they have – like when their children don’t get free food – they’re instantly in difficulty. One of the things that is concerning us is the increasing proportion of people coming to us because of operational failures in the welfare system. We see a lot of people who’ve had their benefit sanctioned in ways which, on the face of it, seem inappropriately punitive. We meet people who’ve had their benefits stopped because they were late for an appointment.”

In Tower Hamlets, east London, which has the highest proportion of pupils on free school meals in the country, the change is dramatic. In June it gave 111 people emergency food but by July that figure was 202, while 107 people came last week alone.

Lindsay Judge, senior policy adviser for Child Poverty Action Group, said: “It’s a national scandal that more families are being referred to food banks in the summer holidays – a time when children should be having fun and parents should be enjoying life. It shows that something has gone badly wrong with the safety net in this country as welfare reform has taken away the protection a social security system is supposed to provide.”

The number of parcels handed out at Yate and Chipping Sodbury food bank in Gloucestershire more than doubled in the first week of the summer holidays. In Salisbury, Wiltshire, the number of donations went up by a quarter from 290 in June to 359 in July, while Blackburn has seen a 58 per cent increase in demand in the last fortnight alone. In response it has had to open a special summer holiday distribution centre.

Stephen Timms, the shadow minister for employment, said: “These figures tell you a great deal about this Government. David Cameron is in denial about the scale of the hardship which food banks represent. He has given millionaires a tax cut, while thousands of parents struggling to make ends meet have had no help at all.”

Lynda Battarbee, North-west development officer for the Trussell Trust, said: “The need here has doubled. Anecdotally this does seem to be to do with welfare reform – for some, the bedroom tax and other changes have pushed them over the edge. We’ve had lots of families whose kids don’t want to leave school because they know they’ll go hungry.”

Even before the holidays started, welfare reforms were having a noticeable impact on the need for urgent help with meals. Between 1 April, when many of the benefit changes came in, and 30 June, 152,154 people received three days’ worth of emergency food, which was triple the number who needed it last year. But this surge over the last few weeks shows that for some families, the holidays have been the final straw.

A DWP spokesman said: “The benefits system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed and there is no evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks.”

But the Trussell Trust points out that the number of people referred due to problems with benefits has soared; eight years ago, the proportion going to their food banks for this reason was 20 per cent; now it is 52 per cent.

Important news that would have been a catastrophe for rough sleepers.

Hotspot news

The government has stepped in and written to councils saying they can still pay housing benefit to the majority of night shelters to try to clear up confusion caused by a case in Wales.

In the note it points out it has invested £470 million in night shelters for four years from 2011/12 and recognises the important role they have in reducing rough sleeping.

‘The government recognises the important contribution that night shelters can make to reducing rough sleeping and the associated costs to society,’ the missive states.

It makes clear ‘housing benefit rules have not been changed’ and it can ‘continue to be paid to the users of the majority of shelters’.

Local authorities have been reviewing and changing their approaches to paying housing benefit to people in night shelters following a court ruling in Anglesey last year.

The judge in the Anglesey case said the council was not liable to pay housing benefit to an individual because he did not store his belongings at the shelter and beds were allocated each night, so it could not be deemed his permanent dwelling.

A 28-bed night shelter serving Manchester and Salford has already closed down as a result of the Welsh ruling. Umbrella body Homeless Link said 11 local authorities had withdrawn some or all payments to night shelters or were insisting on modifications to services.

But the joint note from the Communities and Local Government department and Department for Work and Pensions points out: ‘In his decision the judge made it clear that this case was limited to its own particular facts and state expressly that the case was not “intended to prescribe how housing benefit claims for rough sleepers should be decided”.’

It also suggests local authorities discuss the issue of housing benefit thrown up by the case with their night shelters.

Jacqui McCluskey, director of policy for the umbrella body Homeless Link, said: ‘When individuals suddenly find themselves on the streets, it is vital that they have somewhere to go.

‘Night shelters are often the only emergency accommodation available and confusion over the ruling was beginning to lead to unnecessary closures, potentially leaving those in need with no option but the street.’

Homeless Link is encouraging councils who have withdrawn funding to reinstate it, she added.

Peers in the House of Lords last month called for the government to issue guidance to local authorities and charities following the ruling.

Inspiring stories of 5 actors that you know, that overcame homelessness.

1. Daniel Craig

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Daniel Craig is a British actor who is infamously known for his role as James Bond in the latest Bond movies. It was reported in Daily Mail newspaper, October 14, 2005, that Daniel was found sleeping in a park bench in London while he was struggling as an actor. Now after his big success no one could even think that Mr Bond was so helpless that he had to sleep on a park bench.

2. Sylvester Stallone

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After seeing this name most of the “Rambo” and “Rocky” fans would get a shock that how could a rich and famous person like Sylvester be homeless. According to Total Film magazine, Sylvester said that he was broke and was basically sleeping in the port authority bus station for three weeks straight. Then he saw a wanted post in the paper about the film The Party at Kitty and studs who were paying $100 a day, he said that the offer was too good that he would do anything for it. So after working 2 days on the set he was finally able to get himself out of the bus station.

3. Jim Carrey

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Jim Carrey is an actor, writer, producer and one hell of a comedian. He is my personal favourite comedian; due to his unimaginable talents he has won many hearts over the globe. But it sounds very sad to know that the famous Jim Carrey was once homeless. It was said that even his parents were so poor that they couldn’t afford a place either. While Jim was also struggling as an actor, he and his family, which includes elder brother John Carrey, elder sister Rita Carrey, and parents Percy Carrey and Kathleen Carrey were living in a tent in the backyard of the home of Jim’s elder sister Patricia Carrey who was married.

4. Halle Berry

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Halle berry is an Oscar and Emmy award winning actress, and is famous for her role as Storm in X-Men trilogy. In 2007, Reader’s Digest had interviewed berry, in which she told the interviewer that after leaving home for the first time, while she was struggling as an actress she had to live in a homeless shelter. The reason was that her mother had refused to pay her anymore and had given her two choices, either to come home or find a way herself. The actress refused to go back and continued her struggle and now as we can see how successful she is. But not many can even imagine her being homeless.

5. Charlie Chaplin

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Charlie Chaplin is a name known to many people. He was the person who had made people laugh their socks off for decades without uttering a single word. The reports were that Chaplin had a very sad childhood. In his early age he had felt a lot of pain as her mother had a mental breakdown because of his father’s death and they didn’t have any place to stay either. After getting famous Chaplin had made people laugh till his death. But from the inside he was still hurt. He often quoted that “I love to walk in the rain because no one could see me crying”.

Don’t forget to follow our ‘Onward Christian Soldiers, The Long Walk to end Homelessness’ documentary film about Christian on our social media websites.

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All blogs, social media are from myself Johnny Lynch and the views are my own.

An now an inspirational story – Homeless man scores his big break abroad.

Johnny Lynch

A 20-year-old homeless man has kick-started his football career after being selected for the Homeless FA’s England team.

Tom Queripel said his life has been changed since being chosen to play for the national homeless football charity. Mr Queripel has been with the Mayday trust since July last year having lived in a tent for two months following the breakdown of his relationship.

Following encouragement from his support worker at the trust Mr Queripel applied for the Homeless FA and was this week due to travel to Portugal for his first game.

He said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. When I got the call to tell me I got through I wanted to scream with joy, I couldn’t stop smiling. I’ve been playing football since I was five years old – when I could first kick a ball. It’s always been a massive part of my life.”

He said: “I will get the chance to meet and play with new people, face the challenges of being in new situations and environments and conquer personal challenges for self improvement.

“If I’m successful in Portugal, there is the opportunity to play in the Homeless FA world Cup in Poland.”

Since being selected Mr Queriple has completely changed his diet and lifestyle to get in shape for the team.

He said: “This experience so far has opened up a lot for me, I am going to volunteer at Daventry Town FC and do my level 1 and 2 coaching badges there, I’m also looking for a club to play for next season.”

The trust have also bought Tom a pair of football boots

From all of us at Broken Films we wish Tom the very best of luck and hope this encourages others to follow there dreams.

Thank you for all your support.

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All blogs, social media are from myself Johnny Lynch and the views are my own.

Rough sleeping goes up 13 per cent in London in figures released just now

Hotspot news

The number of rough sleepers in London has gone up 13 per cent in the past year, according to statistics commissioned by the Greater London Authority and local authorities.

Homelessness charity Broadway released figures today Thursday 20th June 2013 showing the number of people seen sleeping on the streets of the capital between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 was 6,437 compared to 5,678 the previous year.

Just over half of those seen rough sleeping were non-UK nationals (53 per cent). Twenty-eight per cent of these were from central and eastern Europe.

75 per cent of new rough sleepers to the streets – 3,255 out of 4,353 –  were only seen sleeping rough once. This was an improvement on 2011/12 when 70 per cent of new comers to the street were seen sleeping out for more than one night and 62 per cent in 2010/11, This could be attributed to the success of the no second night out scheme, that has now been running for two years and aims to stop new people to the streets spending a second night there. Fifty-one per cent of new rough sleepers to the streets attended NSNO, the Street to Home 2012/13 report shows.

The rise in rough sleeping is obviously concerning. London is leading the way in terms of finding and helping new rough sleepers. However, these figures underline the need to better target effective advice and support before individuals end up on the streets of the capital.’

The figures also revealed that 12 per cent of those sleeping rough in London over the past year were female (786) and three per cent (145) of the UK nationals on the streets were known to have served in the armed forces at some point.

Crisis says that Boris Johnson must act now to rein in soaring rough sleeping in the mayor’s city.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said today on the homeless website: “The mayor of London pledged to eliminate rough sleeping in the capital by 2012. Instead we see today the number of people sleeping on London’s streets – in absolute destitution in one of the world’s richest cities – has more than doubled on Boris’s watch.

“He has the power to build tens of thousands more genuinely affordable homes and can protect services that prevent and solve homelessness, plus the clout to influence central government to reverse housing benefit cuts that have proved so damaging and are directly causing Londoners to fall into homelessness and rough sleeping. Continuing failure to do so will lead to more of his citizens facing the horrors of life on the streets.”

This latest rise in rough sleeping comes at a time when services to prevent and solve homelessness are suffering swingeing cuts from central and local government. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, 12 hostels or day centres have closed in London. There are 784 fewer bed spaces, with 58 per cent  of projects in London reporting reductions in funding and further cuts to come.

To make matters worse for poorer Londoners, government statistics show that rents in the capital for 2012/13 are up 8.6 per cent on the year before. Across the capital the lowest rents rose by 10.4 per cent and in inner London the price of renting the cheapest properties went up by 16.3 per cent.

Housing benefit has been cut and capped. Previous research for Crisis highlighted how in one London borough, just 1.7% of properties were affordable and available for an under 35 year old on housing benefit looking for a room to rent.

Single people end up sleeping rough as London’s boroughs only have to help those who meet strict criteria under the homelessness legislation. While some boroughs do help other single people, these services are under pressure or being cut back and many boroughs turn single people away with little or no assistance, leaving them with little option but to sleep rough or get by on friends’ or families’ floors or in squats.

The Street to Home report is compiled by Broadway from figures gathered by London outreach teams from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network. Eighty projects contribute to the CHAIN database, which holds comprehensive data on rough sleeping and the street population in London.

Read about what one man is doing to raise awareness for the homeless problem in the UK while raising money for ‘Help the Heroes’

Former soldier Christian is walking the entire UK coast line and you can see a little more about him when producer Johnny Lynch.caught up with him as he journey brought him through Norfolk earlier this month where a documentary filmed will be available soon.

https://ukhomelessnessblog.wordpress.com/christian

To donate use the link http://www.bmycharity.com/ChristianNock

Homeless people being forced to live in caves

What is wrong with this countries government I ask when homeless people are being forced to live in caves as the UK’s housing crisis continues to spiral out of control.

johnny lynch

An investigation has found people living in one of the worst hit areas of the UK for homelessness are using a network of sandstone caves to live in.

In Stockport, which has seen an increase of 42 per cent in the number of people unable to put a roof over their heads in the last year, up to four people at a time have been sleeping rough in the secret warren – perched on a 20ft precipice overhanging the Mersey – just yards from public view.

The caves are currently being used by the homeless including an Estonian man, who arrived a few weeks ago from the West Midlands.

But local shelter the Wellspring say they have been used by many others with nowhere else to go. The charity’s project manager, Jonathan Billings, says the number of people turning up each day for support has soared from around 60 or 70 to around 140 in the last three years.

He said there has been a particular surge in more middle class, affluent people who worked for years only to suddenly lose everything in the downturn. There has also been a marked rise in the number of homeless Eastern Europeans.

When will our government understand this is happening to not only immigrants but to people who are born and paid taxes for most of there life in the UK.