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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 March 2017

Homelessness agencies accused of being complicit in coercive deportations

Housing: homeless person, photo Paul Mattsson

Housing: homeless person, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Kershaw, Unite union housing workers' branch

Homelessness agencies, including St Mungos, are identified as complicit in immigration raids and a process that results in some of London's most vulnerable people "disappearing into a nightmare of indefinite detention and deportation", the Corporate Watch website reports.

Members of Unite the Union who work on the front line of homelessness believe that outreach services provide essential support for rough sleepers.

It is crucially important that a relationship of trust between outreach workers and clients is maintained. Outreach workers must not be converted into immigration enforcement workers.

Through Unite, workers have expressed concern that in recent years homelessness agencies have become increasingly compliant agencies of government policy.

They have sometimes failed to speak out on behalf of homeless people and in opposition to policies which are driving the rise in rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness.

Funding

Not only is the funding of services for rough sleepers inadequate but the method of funding can serve to undermine responsive high quality work by introducing perverse incentives and financial pressure. Previous mayor of London Boris Johnson introduced 'payment by results' as a system of funding services for rough sleepers.

In 2012 a worker posed the question "... let me be clear, me and my team are regularly threatened, abused and assaulted by disturbed and desperate clients. How do you think they will respond when they believe we are on commission?" We think that the current London Mayor, Sadiq Kahn, should end this grotesque ideological gimmick.

Last year St Mungo's stated its position: "The starting point for our work is the belief that sleeping on the streets is dangerous and harmful to people's health, regardless of where you are from. People can have complex situations and we would always work with each person with dignity and respect to help them move away from the street for good...

"We can't and don't deport or detain anyone. We do not share information about people to the Home Office, except when an individual has given their consent, or in situations where people are at risk. We think leaving a vulnerable person to die on the streets is unacceptable. The average age of death of someone who's been homeless is 47, for women, 43."

Unite absolutely agrees that life on the streets is harmful and we should do all we can to help individuals find routes out of rough sleeping. But it is vital to this work that homelessness agencies do not undermine outreach work through any blurring of the line between their staff and enforcement agencies or through breaches of confidentiality.

Last year, the Home Office toughened the rules so that European rough sleepers can be arrested for deportation if found sleeping rough on just one night.

Rough sleeping is rising because of the impact of brutal austerity policies and it is quite clear that further benefit changes threaten further rises.

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In The Socialist 29 March 2017:


What we think

Unite against terror, racism and war


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: protest, strike, occupy to win!

No to racist scapegoating: oppose the far right

Top banks post 67% of profits in tax havens - nationalise the banks!

Prescription and dental charges to rise again - fight for a free NHS!

Homelessness agencies accused of being complicit in coercive deportations

Leeds Labour councillors resign over cuts

Times makes call for Tory entryism

Martin McGuinness: from IRA leader to Stormont minister


Russian revolution 1917-2017

April 1917: how the Bolsheviks reorientated


Workplace news and analysis

Doncaster: snap strike by posties pushes bully bosses back

Over a thousand march with Durham TAs against 23% pay cut

Join the 31 March PCS pay protest

Bridgend Ford overtime stoppage in sourcing dispute

Forest Hill school in Lewisham fights back

Dispute against backdoor privatisation of mental health services

Ballot papers go out in Unite elections

Fujitsu strikes: Manchester and Warrington

Deliveroo victory in Leeds

TUSC backs RMT struggle against Merseyrail


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Universal Credit is making the housing crisis worse

Save Cardiff's live music venues

Women need secure jobs and equal pay, not patronising 'returnships'

Why I Joined: "I joined Socialist Party to campaign to save the NHS"

The Socialist Inbox


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

Belarus: movement developing against regime


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Jobstown Not Guilty: defend the right to protest

Angry march against Bradford council-approved incinerator

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"Save our Nurseries", Tower Hamlets campaigners tell the council

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders celebrate three years of fighting

Memorial meeting remembers Bernard Roome

Save Plymouth's libraries!

May Day greetings in the Socialist


 

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Related links:

Homelessness:

triangleHomeless left on streets during pandemic

triangleDetermined St Mungo's homelessness workers strike for three days

triangleHousing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson

triangleUnsafe, unaffordable housing scandal

triangleLabour launches homelessness campaign

Workers:

triangleBlack and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

trianglePosties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

triangleOrganising to fight for workplace safety

Unite:

triangleRolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses

triangleWoolwich ferry - workers secure 100% furlough agreement

triangleWorkers fighting to defend safety and livelihoods - NSSN national meeting a huge success

London:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Why are coronavirus deaths higher in working-class areas?

triangleHackney, Waltham Forest & East London Socialist Party branches: Johnson's 'back to school' plan is not safe

Immigration:

triangleImmigration: For a system that meets the needs of the majority, not a rich elite

Homeless:

triangleKey workers should make bold demands

Deportation:

triangleMass pressure wins light sentence for 'Stansted 15'

St Mungos:

triangleSt Mungo's Broadway strikers stage 19 pickets

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