fbpx “Fining people is not a solution to ending homelessness” – The Passage

“Fining people is not a solution to ending homelessness”

Dear Home Secretary,

In 2022 the government declared that there is “a moral imperative to end rough sleeping and to end it for good”. As organisations that work with people who have experienced homelessness, we agree.

A wide range of factors, from the lack of truly affordable homes to the rising cost of living, can quickly force people into homelessness and onto the streets. Sleeping rough is dangerous and terrifying: recent research found that nine out of 10 people who survive without a safe roof over their heads are subject to violence and abuse.

We recognise the steps that your government has taken to address rough sleeping. After committing in its manifesto to end rough sleeping by the end of this year, the government has put £2bn behind a rough sleeping strategy in England. The Chancellor recently restored local housing allowance rates, which will help many more people to afford their rent.

Under the terms of the Bill, this includes people who look like they have slept rough, or who merely ‘intend’ to do so.

It could see women, who are disproportionately likely to suffer violence and sexual abuse on the streets, penalised for seeking shelter and safety in well-lit doorways. It could see a fine of £2,500 issued to a person carrying an ‘excessive smell’.

To support people away from rough sleeping, we must establish trust between the authorities and those on the streets and find ways to connect people in unsafe situations with stable housing and support. The threat of fines and prison risks the opposite – stigmatising those forced to sleep rough, and pushing them away from help and into more dangerous environments.

Signed by Mick Clarke, Chief Executive at The Passage and sector partners

Matt Downie, Chief Executive, Crisis
Kerry Moscogiuri, Campaigns and Communications Director, Amnesty UK
Kimberley Glendenning, Head of Public Affairs, Big Issue Group
Seyi Obakin, CEO, Centrepoint
Gavin Smart, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute for Housing
Katie Dalton, Director, Cymorth Cymru
Alexia Murphy, CEO, Depaul UK
Charlotte Talbott, Chief Executive, Emmaus UK
Ben Twomey, Chief Executive, Generation Rent
Jo Carter, CEO, Glass Door Homeless Charity
Michael Chandler, Chief Executive, Groundswell
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive, Homeless Link
Tim Nelson, CEO, Hope for Justice
Bonnie Williams, Chief Executive, Housing Justice
Fiona Rutherford, Chief Executive, Justice
Simon Gale, Chief Executive, Justlife
Sam Grant, Advocacy Director, Liberty
Sam Austin, Deputy Chief Executive, LLamau
Bridget Young, Director, NACCOM

Kate Henderson, CEO, National Housing Federation
Alex Bax, Chief Executive, Pathway
Niamh Eastwood, Executive Director, Release
Dr Laura Neilson, Chief Executive, Shared Health
Polly Neate, CEO, Shelter
Liz Rutherford, CEO, Single Homelessness Project
Jean Templeton, Chief Executive, St Basils
Emma Haddad, Chief Executive, St Mungo’s
Peter Stephenson, Director, St Petrock’s
Antonia May Cross, Head of Influencing, Switchback
Alicja Zalesinska, Chief Executive, Tai Pawb
Pam Orchard, Chief Executive, The Connection
Mick Clarke, Chief Executive, The Passage
Nick Redmore, Director of Homelessness Services, The Salvation Army
Sian Aldridge, Interim Chief Executive, The Wallich
Jayni Gudka, CEO, Unseen Tours
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive, YMCA England & Wales
Amanda Dubarry, Chief Executive, Your Place

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