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New Law In London Would Fine Homeless £1,000 For Sleeping Outside Or “Loitering”

homeless London

By John Vibes

The homeless people in Hackney, London are facing expulsion from the street due to a new law will allow the police to give out fines and other legal penalties to homeless people who are found loitering, begging and sleeping in commercial places.

This “Public Space Protection Order” which was introduced by the council of Hackney will place a fine of £1000 on homeless activities. The order has been met with numerous criticisms, with many pointing out that the new laws effectively outlaw homelessness.

Matt Downie of homelessness charity Crisis, one of the major opponents of this legislation, said that the homeless population in London has been victimized enough.

“Rough sleepers deserve better than to be treated as a nuisance – they may have suffered a relationship breakdown, a bereavement or domestic abuse. Those who sleep on the streets are extremely vulnerable and often do not know where to turn for help. These individuals need additional support to leave homelessness behind, and any move to criminalize sleeping rough could simply create additional problems to be overcome,” Downie said.

A similar scenario was supposed to happen in Oxford, but during the consultation process, there was so much outcry from the local population that the government was forced to pull back on their proposal. In the case of Hackney, there was not a single consultation before the policy was introduced.

The policy has been largely rejected by people in Hackney, and there have been thousands of people to sign petitions that ask for the ban to be lifted. However, it is not clear if the city has any intention of paying attention to these people.

We have covered many other instances of homelessness being criminalized in recent months. As we reported just a few weeks ago, that homeless people and supporters in Sacramento were protesting a recent ordinance that makes it illegal for them to camp in the city. Many of them were camped out in front of city hall for the past month and are demanding a reversal of the camping ban. Soon after,police invaded the encampment in riot gear and made several arrests.

In another story, we recently covered a homeless man was arrested in Fairfax Virginia this week after police discovered a home that he made for himself in a local park.


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This article (http://www.trueactivist.com/new-law-in-london-would-fine-homeless-1000-for-sleeping-outside-or-loitering/New Law In London Would Fine Homeless £1,000 For Sleeping Outside Or “Loitering”) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many homeless in England have no right to real help from state – study

© Dylan Martinez

Many homeless people in England are not entitled to vital help under UK law even if they are sleeping on the streets, a damning report shows.

A coalition of social justice campaigners and lawyers fighting homelessness in Britain is calling for councils across England to intervene sooner to prevent people from ending up on the street.

They made the demand in a review of homelessness legislation, published on Monday. The report, which was written by representatives from Crisis, Shelter, councils across England, and the Chartered Institute of Housing and the National Housing Federation, demands prompt legal reforms.

The study argues local authorities could and should intervene in crisis situations, and rehouse citizens deemed to be in jeopardy of losing their home.

Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government in February 2016 revealed that the number of England’s rough sleepers soared by 30 percent with a 12-month period. In a climate of rising inequality and accusations of social cleansing, ministers are considering a policy change. Critics say it should have been implemented long ago.

As it currently stands, adults without children who are judged to be healthy, single and not particularly vulnerable are not categorized as high-priority cases by local authorities. As a result, the most councils can do is give them advice if they are threatened with homelessness.

In many instances, campaigners warn these individuals are just handed leaflets and abandoned by the authorities.

The review of homelessness legislation, published Monday, argues English law should be amended to take on dimensions of the Welsh system.

The study says local authorities should have a more robust duty to stop people from becoming homeless. It also suggests councils should have to act within 56 days of someone facing homelessness, and should be compelled to find accommodation for those who have local connections.

While these proposals differ slightly to policies currently seen in Wales, campaigners say they could be helpful in tackling England’s homelessness crisis.

Since December 2012, councils in Scotland have been legally obliged to secure settled accommodation for all eligible applicants that find themselves unintentionally homeless.
Britain’s Local Government Association (LGA) said it is vital that the government honor its commitment to replace high-value homes sold on to fund Westminster’s extended Right to Buy scheme.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that ministers had promised £139 million to homelessness programs and a further £100 million for housing in the budget.

“This report makes interesting reading and we will continue work with homelessness organizations and across government to explore options,” the spokesman told the BBC, adding that legislation “to prevent more people from facing a homelessness”would be factored in.

 Source RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Tory council that’s started fining people £50 for being poor

Worthing Council has just pushed through controversial new rules that allow it to impose £50 fines on people who sleep rough or beg for money. The move effectively criminalises homelessness in Worthing – and then allows the council to profit from it.

Conservative-led Worthing Council has voted to ban rough sleeping (“overnight camping”) and begging, and to issue people who break the ban with a £50 fixed penalty notice, or a court fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal conviction if they don’t pay.

Worthing is the latest in a series of councils to criminalise homeless people using new ‘Public Space Protection Orders’ (PSPOs), which were introduced by the coalition government in 2014 and allow councils to criminalise otherwise legal activities in specific local areas. VICE describes PSPOs as “ASBOs for your neighbourhood” and documents some of the more outlandish ways councils have been enjoying their new powers:

It is now a criminal offence to shout or swear in an area of Bassetlaw. Congregating in groups of two or more is banned in one estate in Guildford. It is illegal to “cause annoyance” in part of Lancaster. Possession of golf equipment is outlawed in an area of North East Derbyshire. Other activities which have been banned, or will be in the near future, include ball games, busking, feeding birds and playing music loudly.

But it is the increasing use of PSPOs to criminalise homeless people – which at least 36 councils are trying to do – that is the most disturbing.

Worthing Council waved through the new rules in the face of overwhelming local opposition. 14,000 people have signed a petition calling on the council to “say no to PSPO” and protests were held outside its town hall. Dan Thompson, the spokesman for the Worthing People’s Assembly, which has been instrumental in the campaign against the PSPOs, told The Canary:

The impacts will be huge. PSPO 2 mentions begging in terms of having a receptacle for begging, which will victimise homeless people trying to get by day to day… PSPO 3 discusses overnight camping and finding shelter overnight which will affect homeless people trying to find somewhere to stay… PSPO 1 looks at street drinking, but there is no discussion of treating people with addictions. Many people living on the street suffer from addiction as a product of being homeless. As one councillor pointed out, the PSPOs are all about punishment and don’t mention support or help.

The council denies it is targeting any “groups of individuals”:

The council were clear that the PSPOs were proposed as part of a wider programme to tackle anti-social behaviour, which balances prevention and early help with enforcement. Enforcement is only carried out where necessary and is focused on behaviour and not groups of individuals.

But Liberty, which has opposed PSPOs since their introduction, argues that Worthing’s measures will inevitably hit homeless people particularly hard:

As well as banning begging, the council has made it a criminal offence to spend the night in a vehicle or temporary structure intended to provide shelter or accommodation – which will obviously disproportionately impact the homeless.

Conservative government policies – from the failure to provide affordable housing to welfare cuts and sanctions – have seen homeless figures skyrocket by 55% between 2010 and 2014. In the past year alone, the number of people sleeping rough in England has risen by nearly a third. Meanwhile, cuts to councils have led them to drastically cut support for homeless people.

Rosie Brighouse, Legal Officer for Liberty, told The Canary:

It’s deeply disappointing that Worthing has used these dangerous powers to criminalise some of its most vulnerable people. Begging and rough sleeping are not antisocial behaviour – they’re the result of poverty.

PSPOs are blunt instruments which don’t help those in need – they simply fast-track them into the criminal justice system. We hope the council will follow the example of other authorities around the country and scrap this misguided and counterproductive Order.

People are being pushed onto the streets – and then being criminalised for it.

As my colleagues Emily Apple and Kerry-anne Mendoza have previously reported, PSPOs are part of a wider trend towards criminalising homelessness under the Conservatives, with devastating impacts for homeless people and those helping them:

  • The introduction of ‘anti-squatting’ laws led to homeless man Daniel Gauntlett freezing to death on the porch of an empty bungalow in Kent in February 2013.
  • A furious judge railed against the increasing number of homeless people being criminalised in Brighton after Ashley Hacket was arrested for begging just 10 pence.
  • Sussex Police have been using plainclothes officers to target people begging and gaol one homeless person every week.
  • In 2014, a disabled man was threatened with arrest for trying to give soup and sandwiches to homeless people in Brighton, and police tried to dismantle a soup kitchen in London.

Criminalising poverty will only entrench it, or move the problem to somebody else’s backyard. Instead of a £1,000 fine and a criminal record, people in extreme poverty need support. As The Worthing People’s Assembly told The Canary:

full article at  The Canary and much more about the country we live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeless Man Owes Government Over $110,000 In Fines For Being Homeless

untitled-1-e1447894249764

By John Vibes

The recent case of a homeless man racking up massive fines has exposed the widespread police practice of fining homeless people for being homeless.

Émilie Guimond-Bélanger, a social worker at the Droits Devant legal clinic in Montreal spoke to the media about a case that she worked on where a homeless man racked up over $110,000 in tickets.

“It was shocking. We’ve never seen someone with so many tickets,” Émilie told CBC.

The man had over 500 tickets, which amounted to over $110,000 in fines. The fines were mostly for things that homeless people can’t control, such as sleeping in the subway or asking people for money.

“He had received around 500 of them [tickets]. I could see that most of the time he would receive many in the same week, sometimes by the same officers as well,” she said.

“It’s very common, to a point where I would say it’s a systematic experience for homeless people,” she added.

On a daily basis, Émilie deals with at least two cases where people owe at least $10,000 for the crime of being homeless.

According to a study published in 2012, the homeless population of Montreal owe over $15 million in fines.

“It’s a huge amount of money that would stress out anyone who has that as a burden. So you can just imagine how it’s difficult for a person to then think about rehabilitation in society when they have such a heavy debt,” she said, “it affects them a lot. Some of them feel like there are good citizens in society — and then there’s them,” Émilie said.

It was recently reported that politicians in Los Angeles are seeking to ban homeless people from sleeping in their cars, and even RVs.

As we reported late last year, Florida police arrested a group of charity workers for breaking a newly-imposed law against feeding the homeless. Among those charged was a 90-year-old homeless advocate.

This article (Homeless Man Owes Government Over $110,000 In Fines For Being Homeless) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cop plays hopscotch with homeless girl after rich neighbors snitch on her ‘suspicious’ behavior

© Huntington Beach Police Department
Video of ‘Officer Friendly’ playing hopscotch with a homeless girl in the affluent California community of Huntington Beach is all the rage on mainstream media channels, but few noticed the original reason why the cop was there.

Turns out, anonymous neighbors tried to ‘shop’ the girl and her mother to police.

They rang the authorities to complain about a “suspicious occupied vehicle” Wednesday, rather than doing the neighborly thing by going out to offer assistance.

Officers Zach Pricer and Scott March were dispatched to “investigate”.

Fortunately, they decided not to criminalize them, which is often the reaction by authorities, but instead March contacted the Homeless Task Force while Pricer started teaching the girl how to hopscotch.

The video, which was filmed by March, has been viewed more than 750,000 times.

Comments below the Facebook post reveal a number of people in the area know the mother and daughter.

One commenter recognized them from church and said they had been attending services for years.

“They have lived in their van for a while. Very nice and respectful mom and daughter,” another commenter said.

While most of the comments were gushing with joy at the sight of a police officer playing hopscotch, as opposed to shooting unarmed civilians, another commenter got real.

“Wait. People know this mother/daughter living situation AND they attend a local church AND they’ve been homeless for years? Why hasn’t anyone offered employment or a place to stay for a while, while they save a little money and get back on their feet?” read the Facebook comment.

full story at RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘growing issue’ of homeless people sleeping in bins

Osborne’s economic plan flawed, Britain may need more austerity – IFS

British Finance Minister George Osborne. © Alessandro Bianchi

Chancellor George Osborne’s new fiscal regime is deeply flawed and will either have to be suspended or will involve more punitive austerity, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.

The think tank made the assessment during its annual “Green Budget” event held in central London on Monday.

The event, which was organized in association with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, involved discussions on the government’s austerity agenda, related risks to public finances, the state’s corporate taxation policy and welfare reforms.

The new fiscal regime, which has been sharply criticized by economists, is called the Charter for Budget Responsibility. It requires the government to run a budget surplus by 2020 and works to maintain a surplus in “normal” economic times – or when GDP growth is higher than 1 percent.

Full article at RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Law In London Would Fine Homeless £1,000 For Sleeping Outside Or “Loitering”

homeless London

By John Vibes

The homeless people in Hackney, London are facing expulsion from the street due to a new law will allow the police to give out fines and other legal penalties to homeless people who are found loitering, begging and sleeping in commercial places.

This “Public Space Protection Order” which was introduced by the council of Hackney will place a fine of £1000 on homeless activities. The order has been met with numerous criticisms, with many pointing out that the new laws effectively outlaw homelessness.

Matt Downie of homelessness charity Crisis, one of the major opponents of this legislation, said that the homeless population in London has been victimized enough.

“Rough sleepers deserve better than to be treated as a nuisance – they may have suffered a relationship breakdown, a bereavement or domestic abuse. Those who sleep on the streets are extremely vulnerable and often do not know where to turn for help. These individuals need additional support to leave homelessness behind, and any move to criminalize sleeping rough could simply create additional problems to be overcome,” Downie said.

A similar scenario was supposed to happen in Oxford, but during the consultation process, there was so much outcry from the local population that the government was forced to pull back on their proposal. In the case of Hackney, there was not a single consultation before the policy was introduced.

The policy has been largely rejected by people in Hackney, and there have been thousands of people to sign petitions that ask for the ban to be lifted. However, it is not clear if the city has any intention of paying attention to these people.

We have covered many other instances of homelessness being criminalized in recent months. As we reported just a few weeks ago, that homeless people and supporters in Sacramento were protesting a recent ordinance that makes it illegal for them to camp in the city. Many of them were camped out in front of city hall for the past month and are demanding a reversal of the camping ban. Soon after,police invaded the encampment in riot gear and made several arrests.

Activist Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Slow death of social housing’: 80,000 council homes face Tory chop

© Phil Noble

The Conservative government’s Housing and Planning Bill will cause at least 80,000 council properties in Britain to vanish by 2020, according to the Local Government Association (LGA), intensifying the nation’s housing crisis.

The LGA predicts councils will be forced to sell off 66,000 homes under the existing Right to Buy scheme by the end of the decade.

It claims this will lead to a further loss of 22,000 council-owned properties. This will add as much as £210 million to families’ living costs as they are forced to move into the expensive private rental sector, it added.

The draft legislation, proposed by Prime Minister David Cameron, aims to extend the number of sites on which starter homes can be built

Publication of the draft bill in October confirmed government ministers plan to introduce a “pay-to-stay” scheme, a system that would force families living in social housing and earning £30,000-£40,000 in London to pay rents nearly as high as those in the private sector.

If passed, the bill would also compel local authorities to sell “high value” housing, either by transferring public housing into private hands or giving the land it sits on to property developers.

Therefore, rents and waiting lists would soar, making it harder for lower-income and middle-income families to afford to live in the capital.

‘Slow death of council housing’

The number of council homes in Britain has already fallen from 5 million in 1981 to 1.7 million in 2014. Critics argue the government’s plans could contribute to the “slow death” of council housing.

Councils want to help the government shift spending from benefits to bricks and support measures to help people into home ownership but the Right to Buy extension must absolutely not be funded by forcing councils to sell off their homes,” a spokesperson for the LGA told the IB Times.

As a minimum, we forecast that 88,000 council homes will be sold up to 2020. There is a real risk that complex rules and restrictions will combine with certain aspects of the Housing and Planning Bill to have the unintended consequence of making building replacements almost impossible.”

Supporting the LGA’s claims, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “The Conservatives try and paint Right to Buy as somehow aspirational but it is actually the slow death of social housing.”

Further commenting on the crisis, the Radical Housing Network (RHN) said it will continue to campaign against the bill, which they believe will spell the end of social housing.

full article and 2 more videos at RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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