New EU nationals sleeping rough around central London

Westminster council is concerned that EU accession country
nationals are sleeping rough in London, writes Amy

Thames Reach Bondway, a charity that works with homeless people in
London, warned that the government’s progress on tackling
rough sleeping could be undermined by the problem.

A spokesperson said that a head count conducted by the charity in
June in Victoria in London found 21 EU accession country nationals
sleeping rough. The group are not eligible for benefits.

Westminster council, which covers Victoria, said that it is
considering a number of options of how to tackle the problem
including paying the coach fare for people to return home if they

The council and the charity both said they had heard of evidence of
scams where people paid for a package giving them travel to the UK
and a job but that when they arrived no employment existed.

The majority of those sleeping rough are from Poland. Both the
council and the charity want the British and Polish governments to
work together and get a message out to Poles that they should
arrange employment before they come to the UK.

“The government needs to liaise with the Polish government to
ensure people know that the streets aren’t paved with
gold,” said a council spokesperson.

The authority is meeting with the Home Office at the end of August
to discuss the issue.

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