William Eichler 19 October 2016

Councils tell homeless ‘to sleep rough’

Councils tell homeless ‘to sleep rough’ image

A number of councils have told homeless people ‘to sleep rough’ despite the danger of violent attacks, new research reveals.

A new report by homelessness charity St. Mungo’s has found that 129 rough sleepers died in London since 2010 – an average of one rough sleeper dying every fortnight.

Entitled Nowhere safe to stay: the dangers of sleeping rough, the report highlighted how people who turn to councils for help are often being sent away without support or instructed to sleep rough in order to access services.

St. Mungo’s warned this left them vulnerable to violence, assault, suicide and abuse, and said statutory protections afforded to families with children and very vulnerable adults miss out people who are left to face extreme risk on the streets.

A quarter (10 in 40) of the people interviewed for the report had been the victim of physical assaults while sleeping rough.

One interviewee told the charity: ‘I’ve been beaten up quite a few times sleeping in doorways, or even in cars, they smash the window in on top of you, spit on you, urinate on you, try and set you on fire. I’ve had all of those things happen to me.’

Three quarters (33 in 40) of interviewees reported sleeping rough the night after asking the council for help because they were homeless.

One interviewee explained: ‘We decided to go to the local council and they told us that we had to sleep rough for three nights in a row before they could actually do anything to help us. We just felt complete despair.’

In 2015-16, half of 672 UK nationals who used the London No Second Night Out service for new rough sleepers had asked councils for help in the 12 months before they started sleeping rough.

The number of people sleeping rough in England has doubled over the last five years from 1,768 in 2010 to 3,569 in 2015. Last year alone rough sleeping increased by 30%.

In London 8,096 were recorded as sleeping rough during 2015-16 on the CHAIN database

‘It’s impossible not to be shocked by what our report has revealed. Too many people are dying on our streets and too many are living with damaging long term consequences of not having a roof,’ said Howard Sinclair, St Mungo’s CEO.

‘St Mungo’s believes that the system for assisting people who are at risk of sleeping rough in England requires fundamental reform. The funding package announced by the Prime Minister this week is a promising start. We hope it is the first step to a new and coherent national strategy to end rough sleeping.’

Mr Sinclair also urged MPs to support the Homelessness Reduction Bill on 28 October, which he described as a ‘once in a generation opportunity.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Clinical Practitioner (Clinical Psychologist or Systemic Therapist)

Barnet London Borough Council
£47,841 - £52,886 Per Annum
An exciting career opportunity has arisen for an enthusiastic and energetic clinical psychologist or systemic therapist to... London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Public Health Project Development Manager

Barnet London Borough Council
£39,867 - £44,790 Per Annum
We are looking for an exceptional project manager who is used to working on a number of projects at any one time. London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Early Help Social Worker (Maternity Cover)

Barnet London Borough Council
£39,867 - £44,790 Per Annum
This post requires a Social Work qualification and relevant experience at a senior practitioner level. Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Scrutiny and Policy Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£34,500 - £46,700 per annum
We are looking for someone who is interested in local democracy and community leadership.   Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Social Worker - Safeguarding

Essex County Council
£30906 - £42254 per annum
Social Worker - SafeguardingPermanent, Full Time£30,906 - £42,254 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue