Research shows that one in ten local authorities across England and Wales are using new powers introduced under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 to criminalise homelessness.
Local authorities are using Public Spaces Protections Orders (PSPO’s) to introduce bans on rough sleeping, begging and loitering which has the effect of making being street homelessness illegal.
PSPO’s allow local authorities to ban any activities that have a “detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality”. If a PSPO is breached it leads to a £100 fine, which is obviously completely unaffordable for someone who is street homeless. Non payment of the £100 fine can lead to a criminal conviction and a £1000 fine.
Recent government statistics suggest that the number of street homeless people has risen by nearly a third in the last year.
The effect of the PSPO’s mean that the local authorities are penalising the people they should be helping. The money spent on consulting on and obtaining PSPO’s would be much better spent funding support services and hostel accommodation for the street homeless.
If someone is street homeless they are entitled to present as homeless to the local authority and must be provided with advice and assistance. If someone is in priority need because they are particularly vulnerable then they must be given temporary accommodation pending the Local authorities assessment.
If you or anyone you know is street homeless and in need of assistance contact pur housing law solicitors on 01616 966 229.