Reacting to the Home Office’s plans to deport non-UK nationals who are sleeping rough and who refuse help or persist in antisocial behaviour from 1 January 2021, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s Steve Douglas CBE, said: “This policy announcement is concerning and we are seeking further detail of how it is proposed it will be implemented. Caution must be taken to ensure that people who find themselves having to sleep rough are not automatically depicted as criminals.
“St Mungo’s works day in day out with local authority partners to support people who need help to get off the streets and recover from homelessness. The success of this was evidenced during the ‘Everyone In’ initiative which saw the vast majority of those rough sleeping provided with safe and secure accommodation, advice and support. This included a significant number of non-UK nationals.
“From our work we know that people who have no recourse to public funds because of their insecure immigration status already have limited access to support which often leads to them ending up on the streets. This needs to be addressed.
“Our recovery-focused approach means we work with all our clients to find the best options for them, which often leads to secure homes and employment.
“It is disappointing that this proposed change in approach has not been discussed with the homelessness sector, where there is real concern that it will increase distrust of the Home Office’s intentions and could drive people with a legitimate right to remain away from essential services.
“We will be raising this with the Home Office, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, as well as local authorities to clarify the detail of this proposed policy, and will continue to work to find solutions which are best for our clients to support their long term recovery.”