Rough sleepers, like asylum seekers and young offenders, often seem
to inhabit a no-man’s land, beyond the principles of user-centred
In Westminster, the plan to stop providing services through
outreach teams, which work with people on their own territory – the
street – seems to fly in the face of the principles of inclusion.
It also raises the suspicion that the response to rough sleepers is
intended to clear the streets.
Ironically, it may even militate against achieving that aim.
Cutting outreach at a single stroke also cuts off those people who
don’t want other services, or who have been excluded from them,
from the first rung of a ladder which could lead to significant
change in their lives. In Westminster it leaves them at the mercy
of antisocial behaviour orders and ultimately prison. It is no less
than a complete withdrawal of social care.
Obviously to some that’s a price worth paying for streets that feel
comfortable for tourists and businesses.