Home Office ‘red tape’ bans help for some homeless
- Credit: Peter Freeman
The Home Office has been asked to vary its rules that prevents Fenland District Council helping some of those made homeless by the closure of an unofficial camp site.
The site was behind Inspiration House, Wisbech, which is let to the charity Change Grow Live which provides an alcohol and drug rehabilitation service.
The situation has been complicated by some not being entitled to support.
“Unfortunately, some of the individuals affected have No Recourse for Public Funds (NRPF) due to their personal circumstances,” said the spokesperson.
“This prevents us from being able to provide them with homelessness assistance.”
The spokesperson said: “We are in constant communications with the Home Office asking them to lift the NRPF restrictions and enabling us to provide greater support for these individuals.
“Home Office representatives have visited Wisbech already and there are talks of a possible pilot scheme locally to assist such individuals.”
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The council says the closure order was not enforced by them.
“The action taken was a civil order by the landowner in order to recover their land and remove the trespassers following their unauthorised occupation and a series of complaints regarding serious antisocial behaviour."
“Many of those affected have been provided with extensive support through the council’s Homeless Outreach Team, up to and including the day they were required to leave.”
Fenland Council says those that remained at the ‘camp site’ had until 1pm until the day of eviction to remove personal property.
“Items of property which were not taken on the day by those required to leave remain available for collection,” said the spokesperson.
“Notices have been displayed to give advice on how this can be achieved. The landowner is dealing with this.”
The council also denied reports that they have asked the Salvation Army – that runs a nightly food offering for homeless – not to issue tents..
“We haven’t instructed the Salvation Army not to issue tents to individuals as we don’t have the power to do that,” said the council spokesperson.
“However, we have had discussions with them about referring rough sleepers to the council so that we can provide them with joined-up, coordinated support.”
The council says that support will be able to address “the root cause of their homelessness, rather than issuing tents and trying to support in isolation”.