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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Reply from council about rough sleepers in Harringay and rubbish dumping in Green Lanes

A couple of weeks ago I emailed the council to ask how they were planning to tackle the issue of the increasing number of homeless people in the area. I also flagged that lately Green Lanes and the streets around it seem to be more dirty than usual, with lots of rubbish scattered around.

This is the reply I received from the council, if anyone is interested.

The council is aware of the growing number of homeless people in Haringey and is endeavouring to address this issue on a number of fronts. We are working in partnership with a wide range of services to identify areas affected by rough sleepers and to take appropriate action to address these problems. The Anti-Social Behaviour Action Team (ASBAT) work very closely with Thamsereach, who provide the outreach services (Streetlink) to people sleeping on the street; immediate referrals are made which are usually responded to promptly by StreetLink – the designated outreach service. Members of the public can also make referrals to Streetlink using the weblink below:-

http://www.streetlink.org.uk/or you can call them on 0300 500 0914

The ASBAT are also working closely with the local police teams and Immigration Enforcement. We are currently involved in a series of operations targeting sites where there are individuals sleeping rough who are not exercising their treaty rights and could face deportation. Thamesreach are also involved in these operation to enable appropriate support and advice to be given to those eligible for housing assistance. Please do contact the ASB reporting line with any information regarding rough sleepers in the Harringay ward, we are collating this information and will add any new individuals and/or sites to our list for future operations.

We have been advised by other residents and businesses, that a number of individuals sleeping in Green Lanes are also begging, again we are working with the Harringay Safer Neighbourhood Team around identifying these individuals and it is very important that members of the public call the police as and when any begging is occurring. The police need to witness the begging and/or have witness statements identifying the beggars to justify enforcement action. If you should witness any begging in Green Lanes please do call the police on 101.

With regard to your concerns about the rubbish in Green Lanes, unfortunately the council has had to make changes to the street sweeping regime on all residential roads in the borough from twice weekly sweeps to once weekly. However Green Lanes itself is swept twice daily, as the sweeping of main roads and town centres has not changed. The Neighbourhood Action Team officer also monitors the area on a regular basis and any illegal dumping of waste is reported to Veolia who will remove within 24 hours. Members of the public can also report dumped rubbish or missed scheduled road sweeping via the Council’s website http://www.haringey.gov.uk/contact/report-it. Alternatively please contact theVeolia Haringey Contact Centre:-
Tel: 020 8885 7700
Email: enquiries.haringey@veolia.com

I appreciate this may not be the response you were hoping for, but trust that it does highlight the work we are doing to address your areas of concerns.

Tags for Forum Posts: homelessness

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Try inside the McDonalds at 2am.

Chris, I've edited your picture to blur the subject's face. 

Sure, no worries

Homelessness and the rough sleeping associated with it is a hugely complex issue of which I have only the slightest understanding. 

It seems to me that some people are more prone to be offended by it and others more interested in supporting those affected by it. I guess like many, I have a great sympathy for those affected by it, but still manage to pass on by most days and remain unaffected. So I thought the least I could do to was to try and scratch the surface of understanding the issue.

Below are a few quotes from some people with recent experience of rough sleeping:

“It’s horrible, it’s bloody horrible sleeping rough. I don’t care how hard people think they are, if you go and sleep rough, I tell you what, it’ll make you scared.”

“When I was sleeping rough I was vulnerable, scared, was spat upon and told I’m a dirty tramp.”

They're taken from a report by charity St Mungos which aims to cast light on street sleeping, in part by telling the story through the eyes of the homeless. A copy is attached.

Magazine the Justice Gap offers a view from the other side. It outlines how Hackney (in common with an increasing number of boroughs) put in place plans to criminalise rough sleeping with the use of anti-social behaviour orders.

In its concluding paragraphs, the author writes:

Banning people from rough sleeping in one area is not going to put an end to homelessness or assist rough sleepers in any way. It is simply going to mean that these people have to sleep rough elsewhere. Very likely, away from the support services that they rely on from day to day.

The idea of moving homeless people on from one area to another has an ignoble tradition in English law. An Act of Henry VIII in 1531 provided that every ‘vagrant’ should be whipped ‘til his back be bloody by reason of such whipping’ and sent ‘back to the place where he was born, or where he last dwelled the space of three years’. Passing the poor from one Parish to another came to be a shameful feature of the Poor Laws in the centuries that followed. It seems regressive for a London Council in 2015 to be imposing a measure which resurrect this ignominious history.

Thankfully, public reaction to Hackney's proposed order forced the Council to back down and rescind it. However similar orders have been enforced elsewhere and the Hackney saga raises some of the key questions to be answered in tacking the rough sleeping crisis.

Rough sleeping doesn't offend me personally, but it does offend my sense of social justice. I can't see a humane local solution that the borough can afford. Whilst local councils can help, resolving the issue is part of a national dialogue that requires a national solution. With its incidence doubling in the past ten years and increasing by 30% in London over the past two years, surely action has become urgent (and for the record, stats show that by far the most common nationality of rough sleeprrs is British).

Finally to those inclined to reach out and help, here's an article written at the beginning of the year in The Guardian about how you can help.

Attachments:

I feel much the same.  I don't give money to people begging because I'm not convinced it does anything but continue the cycle.  I do always apologise for not doing so though.  I have offered to buy people food before (because I used to do that for homeless people when I was an impoverished student many years ago and they always wanted food), but the one person I did that for on Green Lanes just gave me a load of shit because he wanted money for hot food.  I think London needs a centrally-funded, London-wide solution coordinated by the Mayor's office. 

These are all fair points, Hugh.

What disturbs me though, apart from these people's plight, is the council's complete lack of action to alleviate the problem in any way.

Even though Hackney's approach was not ideal, doing nothing at all is certainly not the way forward either.

And as mentioned by other posters, Harringey council seems to also be doing very little (if anything at all), about other issues such as rubbish, drug crimes, begging etc. that Green Lanes seems to be constantly confronted to... 

Perhaps the Councillors could take this up with the Council and find out why this seems to happen. 

Here's a page from the London Mayor's site showing the rough sleeping initiatives being taken at a citywide level

From your address it looks like you're in St Ann's Ward. Can I suggest that you ask your councillors what the Council is currently doing and what plans it has if any.

You might also copy in the councillors for Harringay Ward. Seven Sisters ward also comes right up to and I think includes half the bridge. Councillors for that ward include the Council leader and its Finance member. You could also write to them or copy them in to any email.

Please let us know what they say. If you write to any of them and get no answers from anybody on the other hand, do come back and name and shame. 

You can find councillor contact details by clicking on each councillor name/picture in the links I've given above. 

In the meantime, you can report a rough sleeper to the Steetlink service, who will seek to provide help. 

On the other side of the coin we have young people from all over the world (colleagues) who want to come here because it's "the best city in the world" (their words). They pay a large proportion of their income not to be homeless so find it rather galling that the government would help homeless people and not just move them on from "the best city in the world that everyone wants to come to".

I would argue that if we're moving on homeless people, who make up a tiny but visible proportion of the populace, that we can't be the best city in the world. I'm not often agreed with on that.

I agree with you. The option be that every "vagrant’ should be whipped ‘til his back be bloody by reason of such whipping’ and sent ‘back to the place where he was born, or where he last dwelled the space of three years’".

I am not sure that combining the issues of rough sleeping, begging and rubbish on the streets is hugely helpful, not least because it could give the impression that they are all part of the same problem - whereas in fact rough sleepers and homeless persons often have personal or medical difficulties which have led them to be where they are; while rubbish is the fault of selfish people with more money than care for their fellow man and the environment.

I agree with Hugh that rough sleeping and homelessness have causes that span the country and are not to be found only in Haringey, hard-up though many of its residents are. However I also agree with the poster who argued that the response by the council ("areas affected by rough sleepers... justify enforcement action") shows a worrying depersonalisation of the individuals who beg and sleep on Harringay's streets and also a wholescale failure to recognise that forces beyond a person's control may lead that person to so act.

As for the poster who said we should help the council and police - we do, by paying council tax and through general taxation. So, in my view, the residents are not under a duty to report anti-social behaviour, begging or littering to the council or police - rather, the council and police are under a duty to inspect their areas and to take appropriate action. Without sounding like Alf Garnett or one of his ilk, when did you see a police officer patrolling your local area?

Finally, the situation regarding rubbish appears to be at its worst for at least a decade. My street and those around it are routinely filthy. Even the area at the junction of Harringay Road and St Ann's - by the famous "piazza" - is caked with dirt and stains and is clearly long overdue a blasting with jets. Still, I shouldn't give the council any ideas or they'll probably get hold of said jets and then use them on the rough sleepers, thereby ensuring Green Lanes is no longer "affected" by them.

As to our helping the Council, Paulie, aren't they and we the same thing here. We all know the situation with funding. Council funding has been drastically cut over the past few years. We either accept a huge hike in our rates or seek to mitigate the cuts in service that followed the funding cuts by lending a hand where necessary. Reporting anti-social behaviour or rubbish ain't gonna ruin my day and I'm happy to do a bit to help. 

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