Homeless people face fines of up to £1,000 for sleeping rough in public doorways, under a new asbo-style rule introduced by a London Council.Homelessness charities have reacted angrily to Hackney Council’s ‘Public Space Protection Order’, which they say “criminalises homelessness”.The new order bans homeless people from sleeping in public areas and doorways and can be legally enforced through a £100 on the spot fine.This fine could quickly escalate to as much as £1,000, due to additional court costs. It remains unclear on how the Council will expect destitute homeless people to pay up.
This is another one of those ideas so stupid you keep checking to see if it’s a joke. There is wording about putting homeless people in touch with organisations that may be able to help them, but that doesn’t negate the nonsensical basic idea.
There have been some schemes trialled in other countries, where homeless people were given places to live, at the expense of the local authorities, and this ended up costing less in policing, health and other expenditure. It’s also vastly more humane than piling extra punishment onto people who are already at what they thought was the lowest point possible.