I was recently on holiday to Paris and while I enjoyed seeing the sights and sampling the local bars, there was one thing that I have been unable to shake since returning to British soil.
That is the extent of the homeless problem there, now while I did not expect it to be deprived of homelessness, I was unprepared for the sheer scale of the issue.
We may have become normalised to seeing the odd homeless person with their blanket, supplies or dog in alcoves of our cities. This and more was the case in Paris when almost every street had its own homeless person.
This in of itself would not strike me as too unusual considering it is a capital city and similar would be seen in London. What stuck with me was seeing families, two adults and two children huddled under a blanket on street corners.
This was something I had never considered to be a part of a culture, that entire families would be on the street with nothing outside of the clothes on their back and the blanket which provided them some warmth.
In all my life I don’t think I had ever seen such an occurance of a family on the street so this did send shivers down my spine, that such a thing could happen.
Though sadly there wasn’t only the one family I saw like that, over my long weekend I must have seen at least 7 different families on the street.
What made the whole ordeal worse was seeing how the people, especially the police, dealt with them. On the morning of the Saturday me and my friends were sat in a cafe eating breakfast and from the window could see one of these families.
While we could not hear, and even if we could we couldn’t have understood the exchange, we could tell that the Police we trying to get them to move along out of the sight of us tourists.
Some might think it is understandable that the issue should tried to be hidden and moved along in a city known for its beauty, romance and tourist sights. But for me these sights will stay with me for longer than the Eiffel Tower.
Below are the Terms of Reference for the Consultant (the name of which is still not being released (11/04/2018), even after multiple requests) to adhere too as they investigate Cardon /Banfield’s case.
IMPORTANT: When we received these from Ben Bradley, Single Homeless Pathways Officer at Worcester City Council, there was the following footnote on the email:
“In discussions with the consultant we have extended the period of review beyond the 12 months noted in the ToR based on information made available by partners. At this moment, I am unable to confirm an estimated date of final report.”
Review into the death of a Rough Sleeper
- Worcester City Council is seeking an independent consultant to undertake a review of the death of CB, a gentleman discovered dead within a tent in 2016
- The review will use the Homeless Link guidance set out in the paper Taking Action Following the Death of a Rough Sleeper and other best practice guidance as appropriate.
- The independent review will be an opportunity for the City Council and local partners to review service interactions and where if any learning can be made to improve system approaches to the needs of rough sleepers.
- Further known information on the individual will be shared upon the commencement of the work.
- It is expected that the review will involve all known agencies that interacted with the individual in the 12 months prior to his death. It is expected that the work will involve interviewing key staff within agencies that were known to have contact with the individual within the period under review.
- The review will be limited to reviewing service interactions within the county of Worcestershire.
- Worcester City Council will request that service logs detailing the work undertaken by agencies are made available during the period of the review.
- Where appropriate interviews will also take place with statutory services such as West Mercia Police.
- Following this scoping of service interactions, a review is to be produced detailing key service interaction.
- The intention of the review is to ensure any opportunity for learning and service improvement is undertaken therefore a report is to be providing recommendations for improved systems approach’s to the needs of rough sleepers with recommended actions and timescales.
- It is expected that this project work is to be completed within 10 days with timescales to be agreed between Worcester City Council and the consultant.
- For full information about what happens when you present at the Council as homeless, please click here.
- For the full list of Council numbers if you are homeless, click here.
Homelessness Reduction Act fact-check:
As of 3rd April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act will be law after having received Royal Assent on 27th April 2017.
It started out as a Private Members Bill introduced by Bob Blackman MP, back in June 2016, before being published after the Select Committee for Communities and Local Government had a homelessness inquiry.
One of the main impacts that this Bill will have is changing the time in which Local Authorities (LA’s) need to act upon being contacted by persons about to become homeless.
As under prior legislation LA’s assessed someone as being at risk of homelessness if they were to become homeless within 28 days, that has now been expanded to 56 days.
How the assessments and subsequent help has also been changed in that formerly those who were assessed as a ‘priority’ were deemed to be owed ‘full housing duty’.
It is now the case that LA’s must offer more meaningful assistance to anyone whom is judged to be under threat of homeless or currently homeless, irregardless of priority.
The Act also expands the obligation of councils in the supplying of information, now they will obliged to secure free services to inform on preventing homelessness, securing accommodation, rights of those homeless or threatened with homelessness and what help is available to those whom are homeless or likely to become homeless and how to access that help.
LA’s will now have to make a full assessment of the applicant’s circumstances and the circumstances that led them to become homeless. And once done create a personalised plan on how to secure them accommodation. This process will be under ongoing review.
More information about the Act and its effects can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-reduction-bill-policy-factsheets