Westminster Council “Routinely” Confiscating Homeless People’s Tents
20 December 2018, 17:56
A London council has been routinely confiscating homeless people’s tents and sleeping bags, LBC has learned.
Westminster Council says it believes tents are a “dangerous environment” and removes them if they are considered an obstruction or hazard.
The local authority added that anybody in a tent that is removed is "offered a route off the streets".
The revelation comes on the same day that it was revealed homeless people’s deaths are up 24% over five years.
Almost 600 rough sleepers died in England and Wales last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
One homeless man, named Philip, told LBC several tents were recently removed including all his possession and his friend’s phone.
He told LBC’s Matthew Thompson: “I woke up with nothing, no sleeping back, no nothing”.
The council insists personal possessions aren’t destroyed and can be collected for up to 48 hours.
They say nobody “needs to live in a tent - they are not a viable lifestyle and [Westminster Council] offers up to 200 emergency bed spaces a night.”
“We feel tents are a dangerous environment for people to have to live in, we consistently encounter dangerous drug use and allegations of sexual assault and we would much prefer people come into our services,” a spokesman said.