North London Action for the Homeless are a Hackney based charity who provide food and other support for homeless people. Here they respond to Hackney Council’s Public Space Protection Order which is being used to target street people in the borough.
“North London Action for the Homeless supports homeless and vulnerable people in Hackney. We appreciate that Hackney Council are unable to provide emergency accommodation for all the homeless people who present at Housing Options. But we find it quite deplorable that they are now threatening to criminalise those very people who they can’t help and who are forced to sleep rough. Sufficient legislation already exists to deal with aggressive or other genuinely anti-social behaviour, but sleeping rough in itself is not anti-social.
The majority of rough sleepers are victims of their circumstances and need support. 47% of London’s rough sleepers have mental health issues. 51% are not UK nationals. The available accommodation is extremely limited and for Cllr Linden to assert that they can all access this is quite naïve. We know that the people who are currently forced to sleep rough in Hackney come from a huge range of backgrounds and have complex issues.
Sorting out their entitlements, immigration status and health needs takes time and threatening them in this way is quite unjustified.We call upon the council to demonstrate some understanding and compassion and revoke this draconian attack on some of the most vulnerable people in the borough.”