Westminster homelessness policy “is working”

The head of Westminster’s new building-based service for rough
sleepers has hit back at critics, saying the policy has already had
a positive impact, writes Simeon

The central London council has faced criticism from some
homelessness charities and in the local press since it replaced its
outreach teams with workers based in 24-hour day centres last

But Westminster’s rough sleeping manager, Janet Haddington, told
Community Care there was anecdotal evidence that providing services
within buildings was proving more effective than out on the

She said the new approach allowed workers to give individual
time to rough sleepers in a private setting, rather than arranging
to meet someone in a cafe, as had previously happened.

Haddington said she was “fed up” with people assuming the scheme
had been introduced for sinister motives, when it had resulted from
collaboration with independent researchers and voluntary sector

“It’s not a money-saving venture, it’s not saving Westminster a
single penny,” she added.

But Haddington admitted that the scheme had not yet been fully
implemented, because the police, who were meant to “signpost” rough
sleepers to available services, had been diverted elsewhere
following the London bombings.

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