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Friday, October 28, 2016
Catholic housing charity rejects proposal to fine rough sleepers
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¬†News that Westminster Council is proposing to fine homeless people up to £500 if they are caught sleeping on the streets has been greeted with concern by the Catholic Housing Aid Society (CHAS). Robina Rafferty, Director of CHAS told ICN this morning: "All this will do is criminalize homelessness. The reality is that people living on the streets will not be able to pay these fines and they will start clogging up the prisons. "These people have complex problems. Simply to say 'here's a bed' may not be the most appropriate response. Many rough sleepers have mental health or addiction problems. Many have such low self-esteem they need much more than simply a roof. They need support for a long time to get them into hostels and later as they settle into flats. All too often homeless people are given accommodation, but little else. I've known cases where people have been given hard-to-let council flats in high rise blocks with no furniture. They didn't know how to feed themselves or pay the bills. It was bleak. Within months, many people like this end up back down on the streets where they have friends and a routine for getting meals, showers and so forth at homeless shelters. "All councils want to see an end to people sleeping on their streets, but this proposal by Westminster seem to be a very retrograde model."
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