Homeless people in London could be fined £1,000 for sleeping rough, under tough new rules introduced by a London council.
Despite the fact that the homeless are unlikely to have the funds to pay the fines, Hackney Council have introduced Public Space Protection Orders which bans people from sleeping in public spaces.
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Homelessness charities have condemned the move, saying that it turns rough sleepers – who are often escaping lives of abuse – into criminals.
A similar protection order was proposed by Oxford City Council, but the council backed off after a petition against the move garnered 72,000 signatures.
Matt Downie of homelessness charity Crisis said, ‘Rough sleepers deserve better than to be treated as a nuisance – they may have suffered a relationship breakdown, a bereavement or domestic abuse.
‘Those who sleep on the streets are extremely vulnerable and often do not know where to turn for help.
‘These individuals need additional support to leave homelessness behind, and any move to criminalise sleeping rough could simply create additional problems to be overcome.