Homelessness News – Mass Eviction Of London Homeless As Police Swoop again In Operation Encompass

Police and immigration officials swooped on London’s homeless hotspots this morning in a clamp down on rough sleepers and beggars.

Officers descended on popular sleeping points, including Marble Arch, at around 4am this morning in a joint operation with the UK Border Agency to target those in the country illegally.

Dubbed Operation Encompass, the officers and border officials “processed” 37 people and made scores more leave.

Of the 37, there were 35 who were given “cease and desist” notices, one will be removed from the country and another agreed to return to Romania.

op-encompass-1024x680

The operation was also intended to enforce new EU regulations, which state anyone who abuses the right of free movement between EU countries can be removed from the UK and banned from returning for 12 months.

Commander Alison Newcomb, the police officer who led the operation, said: “”Officers work with immigration partners to utilise legislation launched in January regarding removal from the UK, where the grounds exist. They also make referrals to outreach projects in order to help vulnerable individuals break the cycle they find themselves in when sleeping rough, while taking affirmative action against persistent offenders who break the law or cause intimidation to passing members of public.

“Begging will not be tolerated in the City of Westminster or any other London borough. Wherever possible people begging will be arrested and ASBOs sought where appropriate.”

op-encomp-1024x680

Advertisements

Homelessness – This is new track from Dodgy and ‘Christmas at the Foodbank’ starring our good friend Eddie Webber (The Business, The Firm)

This is from our good friend Kris Thompson.
The song titled ‘Christmas at the Food Bank’ is available to download now on iTunes, with all proceeds going to the Trussell Trust who provides food to people going hungry this Christmas. Please share this.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/christmas-at-foodbank-single/id770937588

Alarmingly, The Trussell Trust predict that this Christmas 60,000 people in the UK will need to use a food bank.

3 times more than last Christmas.
1 in 3 UK children will be living in poverty.
1 in 5 UK mums will skip meals to feed their children.

It would be amazing if we could get this issue some much needed exposure. Please do share the video on facebook and twitter and ask your friends to do so as well. It’s all for a great cause.

Thanks

Johnny Lynch

We think Christian as this covered but see how a backpack that converts to a tent is tackling helping Homelessness

3022099-poster-p-1-how-a-backpack-that-converts-to-a-tent-is-tackling-homelessness

A unique backpack that converts into a bed may be the key to easing just a few of the indignities faced by homeless people living on the street. Water- and windproof, the fire-retardant, mildew-resistant Backpack Bed looks like a backpack, but easily transforms into crisis bedding, complete with a bag and lock to secure personal items. The nonprofit creator, Swags for Homeless (in their native Australia, “swag” means a one-man portable tent), uses a social enterprise model to fund production, and partners with 300+ welfare agencies in five countries–Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the United Kingdom, and now the United States–to distribute the beds to the chronic homeless and people who have been turned away from shelters for lack of space.

The product itself is actually five tools in one. It is a lightweight, ergonomic backpack and a windowed one-man tent. It has a built-in camp mat (which has an insulated lining to mitigate the dangerous effects of sleeping on cold surfaces), functions as a wind and sun shelter, and it even has a mosquito net pouch that can be pulled over the entire mat in lieu of the tent on hot nights.

To get one, the recipient must work with a caseworker at one of the 300+ partner agencies, which makes it a useful tool for signing up people for permanent housing programs.

PTSD and the 9,000 ex-service personnel homeless after leaving the military.

Homelesss

Up to 9,000 British heroes who served Queen and country are homeless after leaving the military.

Shockingly, ex-service personnel account for one in 10 rough sleepers across the UK.

And charities have warned that the problem of homelessness among former soldiers, sailors and airmen is a “ticking time bomb” which will only get worse if urgent action isn’t taken.

Yesterday Simon Weston OBE, who suffered serious burns in the Falklands War, accused the Government of “betraying” veterans after learning of the disturbing numbers without a home.

“A huge amount of rhetoric comes from politicians, but they never actually do anything,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s a betrayal.”

The Sunday Mirror this week heard harrowing stories from veterans who fought on the front line but now sleep in doorways, graveyards and parks, begging from the passers-by whose freedom they defended.

Many are having to cope with the devastating affects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has led to a cycle of family break-up, addictions to drugs or alcohol and homelessness.

Peter Rawlings, a veteran of war in the former Yugoslavia, told how he was “flicked on the pavement” when he left the Army, with no help to adjust to life on civvy street.

Charities have warned that homelessness is fast becoming the next military scandal following PTSD – and that savage defence cuts would lead to yet more rough sleepers.

The Army has reduced the number of soldiers by 11,500 in the past three years. A total of 20,000 are due to be axed by 2017. The RAF and Royal Navy are each shedding 5,000 airmen and sailors.

Homes 4 Heroes founder Jim Jukes said there were an estimated 9,000 homeless ex-servicemen in Britain, including rough sleepers and those in hostels and B&Bs. He said: “With the redundancies coming up and more with PTSD this is only ­going to get worse. This is a ticking time bomb.”

His charity helps ex-service personnel in London, Brighton, Birmingham and Northampton, giving them sleeping bags, blankets and food.

Hostels for ex-forces personnel are opening across the country. One centre was set up last year by homeless charity Coventry Cyrenians. Spokesman Stuart Sullivan said that PTSD, combined with a lack of routine when troops leave the military, forced many into a downward spiral.

“What we were finding, particularly with rough sleepers, was that a high proportion were ex-services personnel,” he said. “It’s that lack of regime – they come out and it all goes. There’s no work and it results in all sorts of issues.”

Former Irish Guardsman Arron Jones, 24, is one of those being helped by the charity. He was discharged from the Army after suffering a nervous breakdown following four family bereavements in three months. Arron, from Coventry, said: “The Army helped me at first, but as soon as I left the hospital I was on my own.

“The hardest thing is finding accommodation. Because I’ve got such a nothing background, no one wants to know. I get turned away everywhere because they think homeless means trouble. The Government don’t offer anything for us.”

A report by homeless charity Crisis found that 500 people sleeping rough in London this year had been in the armed forces, compared with 330 the previous year. In 2010-11 there were just 77. The charity estimates that as many as one in 10 homeless people in parts of the UK are former service personnel.

Incredibly, the numbers have soared since the Government outlined its duty to serving and former personnel when the Armed Forces Covenant was enshrined in law in 2011. It says they “should have priority status in applying for government-sponsored affordable housing schemes, and service leavers should retain this status for a period of discharge”.

Jim

The covenant adds: “Support should be available for all service personnel in order to assist their transition from service to civilian life.

“Provision should include training, education, appropriate health care referral and job-finding preparation and assistance. It should also include information, advice and guidance on such matters as housing and financial management.”

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said ministers should care for ex-personnel “unstintingly”.

He said: “The vast majority of servicemen make a good transition back into civilian life. Some do not and sometimes this is due to the life they led in the service of their country. Those who are physically or mentally damaged by their experiences fighting for us deserve our support in return. The Government must look after them unstintingly, because whatever the cost to the taxpayer, it will be less than the debt we owe them.”

Labour MP Madeleine Moon, who sits on the Defence Select Committee, said: “The Military Covenant promises priority accommodation for ex-service personnel. The problem is most local authorities and housing associations are desperately short of accommodation. The two are colliding, and this is something we have to resolve.”

Shadow Defence Minister Kevan Jones called for veterans to be tracked once they leave the forces. He said: “Without a system, people will fall through the cracks.”

Mr Jones said redundancies could put greater pressure on housing, adding: “When there are people who have spent their careers in the services, suddenly being told they’ve got to leave, clearly that’s going to be a problem.”

Homeless Night Shelter Crisis – ‘Find your own money,’ say MP’s with Blackpool & Anglesey taking an opposite stance.

Hotspot news

The Coalition is refusing to intervene in the growing night shelter crisis – even though it threatens to derail the government’s flagship homelessness strategy.

The funding crisis facing Britain’s emergency night shelters continues to grow, with ministers refusing to intervene despite confusion around whether shelters should continue to be funded through housing benefit.

Charities are warning that up to a third of UK night shelters are under threat, putting the lives of rough sleepers at risk, and, ironically, undermining the government’s own flagship homelessness policy.

The crisis was triggered by a court ruling that indicates emergency shelters should not automatically be able to claim housing benefit on behalf of their homeless clients. Campaigners say that although ministers could avert the crisis by amending regulations to exempt shelters from the ruling, they have so far refused to do so.

As a result, one shelter has closed, 11 local authorities are known to have withdrawn all or some housing benefit payments to their local shelters and many other local authorities are reviewing whether they should cut off payments.

Housing benefit has been a long-established means of financial support for up to a third of emergency shelters, whether they open only in cold weather or all year round. However, ministers have refused to intervene other than to advise shelters to find other ways of raising money.

Homeless Link, which represents homelessness charities, warns that the loss of the shelters could result in the death of rough sleepers, particularly in the winter months.

It says in a briefing:

We are concerned that in some areas night shelters may provide the only emergency accommodation for individuals who might otherwise have to sleep on the streets.

Charities have also pointed out that the coalition’s refusal to exempt shelters threatens ministers’ own No Second Night Out (NSNO) rough sleeper programme. NSNO was launched nationally two years ago by the then housing minister Grant Shapps and the prime minister David Cameron..

The programme is designed to provide a rapid response to people new to rough sleeping, giving them temporary accommodation while they are directed to appropriate support services.

NSNO was credited last week with successfully helping more rough sleepers escape multiple nights on the streets in London, despite a 13% year on year rise overall in the number of people recorded as homeless on the streets of the capital.

The night shelter crisis follows a court ruling in February which we here at UK Homelessness reported which judged that it was unlawful for Anglesey council in Wales to pay housing benefit to a night shelter on behalf of homeless clients because the shelter was temporary and therefore did not constitute a home.

Although the judge said that the case should not set a precedent, several local authorities have subsequently taken legal advice and cut off housing benefit. At least one council, however – Blackpool – has accepted a different legal interpretation of the the ruling and continued to pay housing benefit to clients of a local night shelter.

Reduction in any funding stream to night shelters impacts on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and puts at risk the Government’s own No Second Night Out initiative. This situation has to be resolved as soon as possible.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said the government “fully recognises the vital work of night shelters in reducing rough sleeping”. They declined to say whether ministers would clarify the rules on night shelter payments.

Homeless campaigner Cory Monteith described as “an exceptional talent”.

Monteith

Actor Cory Monteith was a beautiful soul. His awareness of his own struggles led him to reach out to young people all over the world with deep compassion and empathy to help them through their struggles.

Cory wanted other young people to have the chance to discover their strengths and potential through the arts and he was deeply committed to ending youth homelessness working with Richard Branson’s ‘Virgin Unite’ homeless charity set up to help with homeless teenagers, Cory also worked with organisations like ‘Foyer’ in the UK, inspiring and giving a lifeline of hope to young people who were overwhelmed that he took the time to walk beside them to listen and share his own story.

It is with with deep sadness that we join with others to thank Cory for all he did to make a difference in other young people’s lives. We applaud his work to end youth homelessness and call upon all of us to continue this work to ensure that millions of young people no longer live on the streets.

Fox TV officials had described Monteith as “an exceptional talent” and its such a tragic loss to hear of his death which we now know is down to substance abuse and we can only imagine the demons he suffered but in his efforts to help the homeless we are sure he was also an inspiration to some of the most vulnerable people in todays society. From all of us trying so hard to bring this message across at UK Homeless and Broken Films our thoughts go out to his family who I hope can take some comfort knowing he felt compelled to doing so much good for those less fortunate in his short life. RIP Cory Monteith your legacy and memory will live on. https://ukhomelessnessblog.wordpress.com

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.

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.

 

Police swoop on the homeless taking sleeping bags and food parcels in co-ordinated raids in Redbridge

Image

Police swoop on the homeless taking sleeping bags and food parcels in co-ordinated raids in Redbridge

Am on my way to Derby with an investor for this film before driving to London to meet up with some of the supporters of the project but I just had to post this after Jason Newell someone who as done so much for the marketing of our Homelessness film and who sent me the details of something so shocking which am sad to report but I’ve just had to and like me am sure this will stun you.

There is a school of thought in politics that the best way of stopping people doing something is to make doing it as unpleasant as possible. If smokers have to stand in the rain to have a quick fag, they’re more likely to quit; if signing on is about as pleasant as having a molar pulled out with some pliers, you’re less likely to claim benefits; and so on.

The reason we mention this is because, over in Redbridge, the local police have decided to apply this philosophy to homelessness.

A shocking story in this week’s Ilford Recorder tells of police swooping in on a group of men sleeping rough, and confiscating what few material possessions they had.

“They were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything,” the paper quotes one of the men, Adam Jaskowiak, as saying. “I asked to keep it and the food, but they said no.”

The food parcels, incidentally, had been donated by the public.

The intention seems to have been to move them on, though where to is not exactly clear (some other police force’s patch, we suppose). After all, as Rita Chadha, chief executive of the local Refugee and Migrant Forum, told the paper, “There’s no logic in this. It’s not as though if they take someone’s sleeping bag they will automatically walk into a house.”

For what it’s worth, the local chief inspector John Fish claims the policy was intended to “reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers. This includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”

Because obviously, these men were just having a laugh being homeless. Now the police have made sure it isn’t fun any more they’ll go off and buy a nice semi, and eat in restaurants like normal people.

You can read the Ilford Recorder’s full story by clicking on the HOTSPOT NEWS image

Time 14:22
Updated with reaction from Leslie Morphy from the Homeless Charity ‘Crisis’ below

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said the number of people sleeping on the streets in London had increased since 2008. “Due to the pressures of the economic downturn and cuts, particularly to housing benefit, rough sleeping in London has risen by 43%. Almost 6,000 people slept on the streets of the capital at some point last year,” she said.

“Though we don’t know all the details of what happened in Ilford, it is hard to see how removing food and sleeping bags from rough sleepers is going to help anyone. What homeless people really need is access to services and support to help them break the cycle of homelessness – something all the more vital at a time of rising homelessness.”