Local authorities planning to copy Westminster’s controversial
“building-based” approach to rough sleeping have been urged to
proceed with caution.
The central London council last month replaced its outreach teams
with services based in buildings in a bid to tackle the “perverse
incentive” to sleep rough to access services.
Rough sleepers are guided by police and street wardens to buildings
such as day centres, where they can access assessment and
Although most outreach teams have now been disbanded, the council
has maintained a street presence to monitor numbers, tackle
rough-sleeping hotspots and work with particularly vulnerable rough
But Chartered Institute of Housing policy officer Sarah Davis said
an approach without any street services could miss the most
vulnerable rough sleepers.
Davis said authorities wanting to follow Westminster’s lead would
have to do so without cutting corners, which would be difficult in
the light of Supporting People cuts.
Homeless Link’s director of policy, practice and campaigns, Dominic
Williamson, said he would watch the scheme carefully to make sure
it did not become a means of pushing people into surrounding areas.