Westminster Council Plot Homelessness Strategy Based On Enforcement

HomelessAgainst a backdrop of soaring street homelessness, the London Borough of Westminster is planning a policy of enforcement to force those with nowhere to go but the streets out of the borough.

The Tory run flagship council have published a consultation ‘Rough Sleeping Strategy’ in which they reveal the shocking fact that 1500 new rough sleepers arrived in Westminster in the financial year 2011/12.

This number is only likely to rise as the cuts to housing benefits take effect and huge swathes of London become unaffordable for those on low incomes.  Westminster Council’s answer to this is not to challenge the vicious cuts or to invest in more housing, but to send the message that “rough sleeping on the streets of Westminster is, quite simply, not an option”.

It is unclear at this stage whether the council will attempt to resurrect plans to ban rough sleeping in the borough, along with soup runs which they claim encourage people to stay on the streets.  Two years ago the council tried to do exactly this – with the shameful connivance of some homelessness charities –  until a storm of protest forced them to back down.  This wasn’t enough for the poverty pimps at Thamesreach and other large homelessness charities who are still lobbying against soup runs in central London.

Those same charities will be interested to learn that Westminster are to replace their dogged loyalty by introducing the same kind of payment by results contracts that have caused such expensive chaos for the floundering Work Programme.

The borough also intends to make more use of volunteers, quite possibly replacing paid support staff with unpaid workers.  Homelessness charities like The Salvation Army, who have been so supportive of workfare, may yet see their staff laid off and replaced with unemployed people forced to work for free.

On the question of the future of soup runs in Westminster, the borough’s  strategy is vague, although one of the stated key priorities is to: “Reduce the number of reasons for rough sleepers to come to, or remain on, the streets of Westminster”.

The Council are clear in their intentions for those who arrive in the borough and are unable to secure a roof over their heads.  In a move reminiscent of medieval laws aimed at stopping vagrancy, Westminster insist that when “workers are dealing with individuals new to the streets, the message will be one of reconnection to their home community”.

This would seem to apply to both UK born street homeless people and those from Eastern Europe in a policy that can roughly be summarised as ‘send ’em back’.

With no new legislation or bye-laws being openly proposed by Westminster Council (and it is early days)  it is unclear how exactly they plan to make one of the richest areas of the world a no go area for the destitute.

The final section in the document on enforcement gives a hint of their plans.  As well as a crack down on beggars, the council is planning to crack down on “unacceptable behaviour associated with rough sleeping”.

This includes, according to the council, drug use, litter and street drinking.  Rough sleeping ‘hot spots’ in the borough, where people sleep in groups for safety, will be targeted.  It seems that Westminster’s approach is likely to be one of harassment rather than direct enforcement, with council busy-bodies, volunteers and police ganging up to drive homeless people from the borough.  A recent raid on rough sleepers in Ilford, in which sleeping bags and food were seized by police, gives a chilling example of how this enforcement may look in practice.

The raft of cuts to housing benefits could mean unprecedented homelessness in the UK.  As London authorities know only too well, homeless people often flock to city centres for the scant resources that might be available.  Whilst this strategy leaves as many questions as it does answers, it is clear that those who find themselves on the streets of  central London are to face a desperate time at the hands of Westminster Council.

Read the Westminster Draft Rough Sleeping Strategy (PDF)

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

35 responses to “Westminster Council Plot Homelessness Strategy Based On Enforcement

  1. Well, since rough sleepers really piss them off, perhaps there’s the foundation of a protest campaign there? Put simply, to ensure that Westminster is populated with so many rough sleepers – and more importantly, people standing guard over rough sleepers – that the council is left floundering in its attempts to try and act punitively against people who really do have nowhere else to go?

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  3. steven bradley

    i am ashamed of this country ,itll be back to soup kitchens ,with this government ,,,total bastards ,,they are only interested in lining wealthy pockets ,,robbers and theives the lot of them .

  4. its all very well Westminster targeting rough sleepers but where will they go. They only provides hostels for people from westminster except when cold weather goes below a certain point. The sock mob are a group of people who are agenda free who go out twice a week giving food and generally engaging with out homeless friends. Just talking to them helps many homeless people feel better . They recently formed sock mob tours where a homeless person is professionally trained as a tour guide. It helped transform their lives. Iff westminster council get their way they will they will no longer be able to do this work,

  5. Landless Peasant

    Shameful. Utter Tory bastards. The best thing that ever happened to those evil cunts was the Brighton bomb.

    • Unforunately most of the bastards survived, & knowing the general stupidity of the public there would have been enormous sympathy for them so there would still be a tory party. Going to put my tinfoil hat on now, maybe the bombing was a set-up? No internet then, so no way the more savvy amongst us could circulate therories about such events & draw our own conculsions.

  6. We can shout as much as we like, but the major question in my mind is… what can we do to stop this? How can we go about changing these Draconian ideas. I can clearly see that the government are leading up to their earlier declaration that they are going to make being homeless a criminal offence. I was homeless for 8 months with two small children, it was one of the worst times of my life. I have great sympathy for the homeless.

    How do we go about stopping this?

  7. shame on those who store the souls of human beings in their bank a/c’s and portfolios…and preach morality to the poor…sick/needy/unabled…hunger is easily cured by food…exposure cured by shelter….voice of body, must 1st be heard, or all else fails…then voice of soul…….

  8. Once homelessness becomes a crime,there will be much more money in G4S pot,which may in time lead to them taking over the whole fuckin country.

  9. Straight out of “Clockwork Orange” ….

  10. That’s one way to fill the private prisons I suppose.

  11. This is sweeping the problem under the carpet to coin a phrase. Every person made homeless should all go there. Power in numbers as they say.

  12. I was on Princes St in Edinburgh a few months ago, been there many times, never seen so many people rough sleeping before. I watched as two (I think) community police officers given a rough sleeping young girl hassle, she was doing nothing wrong, just under a blanket under the Duke of Wellington statue.

  13. In Grand Central Station (New York, New York), mid 80s, the policy was that anyone spending the night (or any part of it) inside the coach station building would not be allowed the luxury of closing their eyes (for longer than the average time needed to blink). Sleeping in there wouldn’t have been many people’s first choice for any number of good reasons, but first and foremost, anyone considered by security guards as ‘asleep’ would be summarily moved on/’asked’ to leave.

    (Someone wrote a book around the same time entitled ‘By Grand Central Station, I sat down and Wept’ – for reasons unconnected – though they easily could have been.

    The days 20 year ago of people holding ‘Homeless & Hungry’ signs in New York City/streets of London now start to seem almost like halcyon days.

  14. i agree with Anne Selby ,what ?can we do ,,we are in a dictator ship now ,,and I feel a revolution /rebellion coming on ,the government is going too far this time ,,and as usual, its the cons,/tory’s doing it ,they are tailored towards the rich ,and keeping the poor under foot ,,time for the people to stand up for themselves ,,Maggie killed the unions ,Cameron is killing the people ,,he is continuing Thatcher;’s dream from where she left off ,he needs to go ,,so do the lib dems and conservitives

  15. They are trying to sweep the homeless issue under the carpet but there will come a point where there are so many homeless they won’t be able to cope. They should be asking themselves why this is happening and how to solve it instead of blaming the victims of their evil policies.

  16. if you are home less or un employed or sick or disabled . it’s going to be your fault. the government will NOT accept blame in any shape or form .

  17. Pingback: #Westminster Council Attack #Homeless People #London | johndwmacdonald

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  19. rainbowwarriorlizzie
  20. rainbowwarriorlizzie
  21. Eric Greenwood (4727)

    They will round the homeless up and put them on train/trucks to the north, Where its colder and less homes and jobs for people putting their areas under pressure, So they will have to make cuts and so send those in need further away until they have no where to go except ex army camps that they are creating by dismantling the army

  22. And what of their animals???????

  23. Back to whipping ‘sturdy beggars’ at the cart tail, before throwing them out of the parish, as in the time of Elizabeth I?

  24. unbelievable cruelty.

  25. Germany c1933 anyone?

  26. This is disgraceful….Shame on this evil government! Cameron you created all this homelessness with your illegal policies! Where do you expect all these homeless people to go then? Sure you don’t want to round them up and kill them off? As I am sure that’s your intention, You are already responsible for killing 310,000 people off with your policies. Personally I think you should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity, Ignoring Human Rights Laws as well as Discrimination laws! If I could prosecute you I would. You obviously are very thick at maths…because what you are asking people to pay, with your policies…They cannot pluck money out of thin air….You are destroying this country with your policies…I could do a better job than you! It’s like we are going backwards instead of forwards. You have turned this country into a third world country for the poor and low paid! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF CAMERON!

  27. GIVE ME A RIFLE ,TO POINT AT CAMMERON

  28. Just thought I’d let you know that even Northern Labour run councils are joining in with the diabolical plot to move people out of homes they live in. In yesterday’s local paper (Blackpool Gazette). A lady of 78 years of age and suffering from emphysema has been told that Blackpool Coasting Housing want to move her out of her flat because they have decided that the flat she lives in along with another flat is to be converted into a house. So people, its all very well saying that by 2015 the Con-Dem shysters should be voted out but lets face it the Nu-Lab party is NOT going to be any different. Personally I have decided that come the next election I will be voting for the person who is representing a party that is not one of the Big Four (if you include UKIP) the so-called new peoples party who’s leader comes from the Banking Sector. How easily some people are duped eh?
    Anyway, back to votes. I suggest voting for independents or minority parties and if none are available vote for Raving Monster Loony candidate or anyone of similar ilk. Let’s face it, even they could probably do a better job than current Eton Brigade.

  29. CAMERON This is of your own making, through your policies…You really are quite thick at maths aren’t you? Can’t understand why you are running this country…you really are making a hash of things, not to mention all the laws you have broken through your policies. I think you should step down and let me run the country, I certainly wouldn’t make a hash of things like you have. I would be more compassionate to the poor and the disabled. I would make it law that big firms will have to pay their taxes instead of the poor paying it for you! I would create a Mansion Tax and taxes on 2nd 3rd homes etc That would raise quite a few billion just for starters.All the times over the years it’s always the poor and people on benefits who get attacked for what little money they have. I would stop that straight away as priority. I would up the minimum wage in line with today’s cost of living, hence putting money into peoples pockets, that in turn will create more spending…then more manufacturing! This is the only way you are going to get this country back on track. That’s just for starters.

  30. They will build the barbaric Titan prisons, and then force the homeless / foodless (= workless/ unemployed / disabled) into their cells. They are already repatriating slave labour jobs from Bangladesh etc to be done by the prisoners.

    • Slave Labour is against the Law, as is Discrimination, the poor and the vulnerable are being Demonised by this Government and it is very surprising That the government can get away with it? How are they allowed to break the law? No wonder Cameron wants to change our human rights laws and Discrimination laws in Europe, but this won’t effect just the the poor and vulnerable people, it will effect working class persons too, ie. rights for 4 week holidays a year…they could lower the minimum age more, they will be able to get away with it, because there will be no repercussions. Don’t think people would realise the Repercussions of this.

  31. What’s up, just wanted to tell you, I liked
    this article. It was funny. Keep on posting!

  32. Pingback: Housing | Benny On Benefits

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