Homeless people face fines of up to £1,000 for sleeping rough in public doorways, under a new asbo-style rule introduced by a London Council.
Homelessness charities have reacted angrily to Hackney Council’s ‘Public Space Protection Order’, which they say “criminalises homelessness”.
The new order bans homeless people from sleeping in public areas and doorways and can be legally enforced through a £100 on the spot fine.
This fine could quickly escalate to as much as £1,000, due to additional court costs. It remains unclear on how the Council will expect destitute homeless people to pay up.
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Two young boys moved by the sight of people sleeping rough have started a campaign to help the homeless.
Jack and Tom Hobbs were horrified to see people on the streets of Newcastle during a city visit from their home in Stanley, County Durham, at Christmas.
Despite their tender years, they have pledged to do what they can to help and have started to collect warm clothes, sleeping bags and blankets to donate to the needy.
Jack, nine, and Tom, five, started collecting things at St Mary’s Junior School, where they are both pupils.
Proud father Gavin Hobbs, of Iveston Terrace, Shield Row, said:
“We were out for dinner in Newcastle just after Christmas and my two boys saw homeless people on the streets for the first time and were both extremely upset and bothered about them.
“They decided they wanted to collect hats, coats, scarves, gloves, blankets and sleeping bags and start giving them to the homeless people to keep them warm.
“Jack and Tom are very passionate about this and have collected quite a bit already. We have got so much it is unbelievable.”
Car loads of gear will be taken to The Tommy Armstrong Centre in Stanley and The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle on Saturday.
It is being stored at St Joseph’s Church in Stanley. Anyone who wants to help can call Mr Hobbs on 07432-693-558 or take it straight to the church.
Source – Northern Echo, 04 Feb 2015
A homeless man has been provided with food, blankets, warm clothing and temporary shelter by generous Berwick residents.
The plight of Daniel, a 29-year-old man sleeping rough in the town, was aired on Facebook by local resident Iain Mitchell.
The news quickly spread and many more people have since offered their support.
As a result, he was provided with four nights’ accommodation in Berwick, a sleeping bag, blanket, clothes, replacement trainers, food and drink.
Efforts are now being made to provide Daniel with a more permanent solution.
“The response has been unbelievable,” said Iain. “I never thought one post would show there are so many kind-hearted people out there. I’d just like to thank everyone for their help.”
He was prompted into action when he drove past the Aldi supermarket last Wednesday night and saw Daniel huddled up as the temperature dropped to -2C.
“I initially thought he was waiting for a lift but then I saw him again half an hour later so I went into the Shell garage and a lady there told me he was homeless,” said Iain.
“I went to get him a McDonald’s and a large cup of tea. The smile on his face to receive something as simple as food nearly brought me to tears.
“We got talking and I found out the few bags he had were all his worldly possessions. I realised what a nice person Daniel is as we shared a few jokes. I then thought this guy can’t stay out here all night so I got him some old trainers as the ones he was wearing were falling to bits and when I returned, another wonderful kind-hearted person had provided him with a quilt, clean towel, socks, boxers and other essentials.
“He didn’t even have a sleeping bag as his was wrecked due to the weather so this person provided Daniel with things to make sure he would stay dry and warm which hopefully would see him through the night.”
Iain’s facebook friends then secured accommodation. Although this was initially for one night, further helpers came on board and paid for four nights.
“I want to personally thank Cindy and Sarah who got the ball rolling and to Kerry Anne Bell who paid for extra nights and also to the other people offering to pay for more nights for Daniel, and people who brought food clothes and other essentials,” said Iain.
“I didn’t do anything anywhere close to what most have done, so you all deserve big thanks for such acts of kindness to help someone you don’t know.”
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 16 Jan 2015
A THIEF downed five cans of booze in public view in a South Tyneside supermarket – in a bid to get arrested.
Martin Lazenby drank the cans of Smirnoff vodka and cranberry juice at Asda in Coronation Street, South Shields, before leaving the evidence littered around the store.
The 47-year-old even initially told a member of security staff he had consumed 12 cans of the alcohol when stopped.
Lazenby, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to stealing the cans – valued at £9.10 – at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
He had carried out the offence at about 5.35pm on Thursday, and spent the night in custody after being arrested before appearing at court.
The court heard Lazenby had been sleeping rough at the time, and went in the store and took the alcohol in the hope of getting arrested and spending a night in custody with a roof over his head.
Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “He had been suffering from fits, and went into the store to get some alcohol to stop the shaking.
“He consumed the alcohol in the store in the hope of being arrested and spending a night in the cells.”
Lazenby was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £9.10 to Asda, as well as a victim surcharge of £5.90 – reduced from £15 due to his lack of means.
Source – Shields Gazette, 22 Feb 2014
An increasing number of families in the North East are facing homelessness this winter, according to the latest statistics.
Calls to charity Shelter have increased by 12% since last year, and the number of people in the North East who called the Shelter helpline from 2012 to 2013 reached 2,490, the equivalent of more than 200 callers per month.
The charity say the figures reflect the growing number of people struggling to cope with the rising costs of living coupled with stagnating wages, and expect more families will find it increasingly difficult to keep a roof over their heads, especially as bills mount in the run-up to Christmas.
Shelter helpline adviser Liz Clare said the Christmas period is the most difficult time of year for her and colleagues. :
“The threat of homelessness is devastating at any time of year, but it seems to get worse around Christmas as the strains of the holidays close in and the weather gets cold.
“One Christmas Eve I answered a call from a mum with a disabled son. They were evicted from their home that night and had to sleep on the streets in the cold. We managed to find them a place to stay, but I’ll never forget the devastation in her voice. The sad fact is that eviction notices can come at any time of year. “
“I’ve never seen the helpline as busy as it has been this year.”
Jeremy Cripps, the chief executive of charity Children North East warned the figures could also increase following Christmas as people struggle to cope with the costs of the festive period and fall into arrears.
“What we have noticed is that a high proportion of families are there because of rent arrears or because their homes have been repossessed because of missed mortgage payments.”