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GlobalNet21: Recreating Our Futures Message Board Meetings, Interviews, Articles & Social Action Reports › 87 Rough Sleepers in Westminster Brings Little Hope for Olympic Homelessness

87 Rough Sleepers in Westminster Brings Little Hope for Olympic Homelessness Targets

Christina W.
user 3986671
London, GB
Post #: 10
Report Published By: http://sheltercrisis....­.

On 30th December 2009 Eight volunteers from the Sock Mob volunteer network http://www.meetup.com...­ found 87 people sleeping rough or about to in the South of Westminster - only a third of the borough actually being searched. The Sock Mob - an open and unofficial group of friends seeking to engage with persons homeless in London has begun to undertake the more formal role of homelessness head counting owing to general skeptisism with the local council of Westminster's statistics

The participating members of the Sock Mob were even despite their regular walking of Westminsters streets surprised at the numbers bedding down on one of the coldest nights of the year - the day before New Year's Eve. Sock Mob co-founder Lidija Mavra said: "While it was truly appalling to find as many homeless as we did in such a small sliver of one borough, it provided that much-important context and gave a real idea of the need that's out there".

Despite all promises of "ending homelessness" by 2020 and rough sleeping by 2012, the London Delivery Board looks set to fail the what many consider impossible task of clearing all rough sleepers from the streets in time for the London Olympics. In context - the official Westminster council count in September 2008 only found 69 Rough Sleepers, whilst the Housing Justice charity found 206 a fortnight earlier and The Simon Community found 194 Five weeks later.

As Richard Burdett Editor of The Pavement magazine for London and Scotland's Homeless Communities stated: "key to our questioning of the 2012 target is the worry that as with many government goals, they will 'achieve' them - even if there are still rough sleepers - by fudging the figures and driving those remaining on the street out of the public eye. We also think they will make the target regardless of the wishes of those on the street."

On balance of probabilities therefore: It looks as if the concerns of many groups that local government figures on rough sleeping being massaged downwards are sincere... and that perhaps rough sleeping in London should be minimised compassionately rather than sought to be eradicated aggressively
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