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Homeless Link responds to Braverman absurd proposals

Responding to media reports about proposals that the Home Secretary may be including in the King’s Speech on Tuesday, Homeless Link’s Director of Social Change, Fiona Colley said:

“Homeless Link and our members supported the government’s commitment to repealing the 1824 Vagrancy Act and agreed with the former Rough Sleeping and Housing Minister Eddie Hughes when he stated, “No-one should be criminalised simply for having nowhere to live, and it is right that we repeal the outdated Vagrancy Act.” It is absurd to now replace that Act with something which continues to criminalise people forced to sleep rough

“Suella Braverman’s latest proposals take us back 199 years. The causes of homelessness are clear – the critical shortage of affordable homes and soaring rents while housing benefit is frozen; crumbling mental health and social care services and a failing immigration system. Individuals facing homelessness are usually survivors of trauma. They need help and support not criminalisation.

“The number of people sleeping rough in England is rising rapidly. It’s absurd to suggest that this is down to “lifestyle choices” or that the answer is a “crackdown” on people sleeping rough and the charities that support them. No one should be sleeping rough in a tent in our country.

“The Government could and should act – not by demonising and criminalising, but by supporting people experiencing and at risk of homelessness. In the short term to increase local housing allowance.

“Everyone has the right to a safe and suitable home. We are calling on the Chancellor to increase LHA in the upcoming Autumn Statement – an action that is now imperative to stem the tide of people becoming homeless and ensure that everyone, including those looking to escape homelessness, can find a home they can afford.

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About Homeless Link

Homeless Link is the national membership charity for frontline homelessness services, representing over 900 organisations across England. We work to improve services through research, guidance and learning, and campaign for policy change that will ensure that everyone has a place to call home and the support they need to keep it.

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Fiona Colley

Director of Social Change

Fiona leads Homeless Link’s campaigning and thought leadership activities within the homelessness sector and beyond, with responsibility for our policy, research, communications and digital functions.