Council leader Nancy Platts has spoken out today about the welfare approach needed in this city to help and protect vulnerable people who are rough sleeping.
Cllr Platts confirmed the administration’s ongoing commitment to treating all residents with respect and tackling the causes of rough sleeping. Cllr Platts said: “We’re very clear on our compassionate approach towards the homeless community and our belief that having a home is a basic human right.”
Last week railings were added to a council owned structure at Dukes Mound where a group of people had been rough sleeping. The move was taken by the council following discussions with agencies and council officers working to help people move away from the streets.
Councillors were advised action was taking place but were not given full details or shown the plans for the railings before installation took place.
Senior councillors have now reviewed the situation and today Cllr Platts requested that the railings be removed as soon as possible.
Cllr Platts said: "We do not support this type of move, however well intentioned, which can create a hostile environment where kindness should be key. Putting barriers up to the only shelters available, to force people out into the open, is wrong and inhumane."
Councillors have also called for more shelter provision for vulnerable people and this is being looked at right away. To start with, SWEP (the council’s severe weather emergency protocol shelter) is now due to be open for the next three nights starting tonight. SWEP is open to all who need shelter, no referral is needed.