Housing

Rough sleepers bought train tickets to leave town

Charities question councils "reconnection" policy - offering homeless people one-way tickets to go elsewhere

Homeless person

Charities working with homeless people have responded to a report revealing some councils giving rough sleepers one-way train tickets to go somewhere else.

Ten councils told BBC News they had bought the tickets as part of a “reconnection” policy to get people to return to an area where they had previously established a connection.

But some rough sleepers claim they were asked to consider going to places where they had never been before.

Simply displacing rough sleepers without offering support is not solving the issue

Homeless Link chief executive Rick Henderson described the amount of money spent on one-way tickets was “worrying.” He the policy had some merit only if “a person has a support network in a different area.”

Henderson added: “Simply displacing rough sleepers without offering support is not solving the issue, and at worst can exacerbate their situation, leaving them more isolated and at risk of deteriorating physical and mental health.”

Shelter said it was “shocked” by the policy, while Hannah Gousey, policy and public affairs manager at Crisis, said some homeless people were being “sent to places where (there is) potentially a threat of violence.”

Freedom of Information requests show Manchester City Council spent £9,928 on tickets for the “reconnection” policy over a six-year period.

All this is doing is shunting them from one city to another

Manchester Lib Dem John Leech accused the city’s council of trying to “sweep the problem under the carpet.” The former MP said: “All this is doing is shunting them from one city to another and without a strong support network in the city they are sent to, they will be left in an even worse place.”

Manchester council bosses recently denied stories it had “shipped” people down to houses bought in Cornwall. A spokesperson said: there is no truth in Manchester Council buying up any property in Cornwall (or anywhere else for that matter).”

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