Model motions

Below are some model motions you can bring to your CLP. If you’d like to submit one of these or on other related topics, please get in touch with us at labourhomelessnesscampaign@gmail.com as we’d like to help!

 
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don’t criminalise homelessness

This CLP notes:

  1. Homelessness and rough sleeping have skyrocketed since the Conservatives entered government in 2010, with the number of rough sleepers nationwide in official estimates increasing from 1,768 to 4,677  

    1. The average life expectancy for rough sleepers is 44 years for men and 42 years for women, and the highest mortality for rough sleepers is in London.

    2. Charities say official figures underestimate the scale of the crisis, with a Crisis study showing 12,300 people sleeping rough on the streets, and a further 12,000 sleeping in tents, cars, or on public transport.

  2. Across the country, there are many measures in effect which criminalise behaviour associated with rough sleeping and homelessness.

    1. The 1824 Vagrancy Act makes it a criminal offence to sleep ‘in any deserted or unoccupied building, or in the open air, or under a tent, or in any cart or waggon, not having any visible means of subsistence’ and provides for fines of up to £1,000.

    2. Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), which were introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government in 2014, are introduced by local councils to restrict ‘anti-social’ activities which are ‘having a detrimental impact’ on others’ quality of life.

    3. Dispersal orders, Community Protection Notices (CPNs), and Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) all also target ‘anti-social behaviour’ and have been used to target begging.

  3. Charities and civil liberties organisations have raised concerns about the use of PSPOs and other anti-social behaviour measures which impact those homeless and sleeping rough.

    1. According to Liberty, ‘PSPOs… are blunt instruments which fast-track so-called “offenders” into the criminal justice system’. Liberty opposes these powers as ‘handing hefty fines to homeless people… is obviously absurd, counterproductive and downright cruel’.

    2. Homeless Link notes ‘use of PSPOs did little to tackle the root causes of rough sleeping… any move to criminalise sleeping rough could simply create additional problems to be overcome’.

    3. Enforcement measures against rough sleepers have been shown to be most likely to simply displace ‘unwanted’ activity - e.g. by forcing rough sleepers to move from one area to another, or leading them from begging to acquisitive crime.

    4. The official figures on PSPO use likely do not reflect the level of criminalisation - Crisis has found that: 73% of rough sleepers experienced some form of criminalisation in the previous 12 months, and 70% of those were informal ‘moving-on’ or threats rather than direct application of enforcement measures

  4. The Labour Homelessness Campaign was launched in December 2018 as a grassroots campaign of Labour members in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness, and has been campaigning particularly against the criminalisation of rough sleeping.

This branch believes:

  1. The homelessness crisis has a political cause - the impacts of austerity, rising cost of living, and stagnating wages have brought about this crisis.

  2. People experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping are not responsible for the crisis - the single biggest cause of homelessness are no-fault evictions in the private rental sector.

  3. Criminalisation and enforcement measures are not appropriate for dealing with the intensely vulnerable rough sleeping population, increase mistrust in official institutions inhibiting accessing support, and fail to reflect that rough sleepers are far more likely to be victims of violence and abuse than to be perpetrators.

  4. A ‘Support and Enforcement Model’ which targets the most vulnerable with ‘enforcement’ measures carries the danger of exacerbating the suffering of those experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping.

This branch resolves:

  1. To welcome the commitment of the Labour Party nationally to end rough sleeping within its first term in government, to restore the funding to local services necessary to tackle the homelessness crisis, and to repeal the 1824 Vagrancy Act.

  2. To welcome the hard work being done by local outreach services, charities, and volunteers to help those suffering in the homelessness crisis brought about by austerity.

  3. To oppose all criminalisation of homelessness and rough sleeping nationally by urging our MP to:

    1. Push for the immediate repeal of the 1824 Vagrancy Act.

    2. Strongly oppose the use of PSPOs, CBOs, and dispersal orders to target people experiencing homelessness.

  4. To campaign against criminalisation of homelessness and rough sleeping, including through the Vagrancy Act, PSPOs, CBOs, and dispersal orders targeting people experiencing homelessness, in order to.

    1. Immediately remove all restrictions against begging and against sleeping out, which directly target rough sleepers and people experiencing homelessness.

    2. Remove restrictions which are found to disproportionately impact people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping.

  5. To affiliate to the Labour Homelessness Campaign.

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end the hostile environment

This CLP Notes:

  1. National law prevents local authorities from being able to help many migrants by assigning them “No Recourse to Public Funds” (NRPF) status, including

    1. those who arrived under certain types of visas (eg some spousal visas)

    2. EU migrants who lose their jobs and cannot prove they’ve been looking for work in the last 6 months.

    3. Asylum seekers who are appealing asylum requests, or waiting for paperwork from the Home Office.

  2. If council homeless outreach teams find an adult sleeping rough who has NRPF status, they often legally cannot provide them help.

  3. People with NRPF also cannot access welfare benefits, and if their immigration status is insecure, they won’t be entitled to work or rent.

  4. Labour’s current manifesto says ‘we will replace income thresholds with a prohibition on recourse to public funds'.

    1. Labour is therefore pledged to scrapping the £30,000 minimum income for immigrating to the UK, for EU and non-EU migrants.

  5. Embedded Home Office officials in local councils can sit in on meetings with people applying for homelessness support, and pass on personal details of migrants experiencing homelessness.

    1. Lewisham council just removed their embedded Home Office official in February 2019, saying that Labour councils should not be informing on vulnerable people.

    2. However multiple Labour councils across London still have embedded Home Office officials, including Croydon, Hackney, Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Enfield and Harrow, and many more across the country.

    3. Recently it emerged that despite a court order in December 2017 preventing the government from directly deporting rough sleepers from the streets, the government was in secret communications with St Mungo’s and other groups about sharing rough sleepers’ personal immigration data without their consent.

    This branch believes:

    1. A Labour government should support everyone experiencing homelessness, regardless of immigration status.

    2. Labour councils should not be cooperating with the hostile environment.

    3. Scrapping immigration income thresholds is a good thing - free movement should not only be for the rich.

    4. Labour should be scrapping No Recourse to Public Funds status and scrapping immigration income thresholds, guaranteeing everyone experiencing homelessness support.

    5. Ending free movement after Brexit will dramatically increase the number of people with unsettled status, who would thus be more vulnerable to ending up on the streets.

      This branch resolves:

    To welcome the commitment of the Labour Party nationally to end rough sleeping within its first term in government, and to restore the funding to local services necessary to tackle the homelessness crisis.

    1. To condemn the hostile environment in our homelessness services and urge our MP to push for abolition of “NRPF” status in all cases.

    2. To campaign for our council to:

      1. Refuse to embed Home Office immigration officers in council services.

      2. Refuse to pass on rough sleeper’s data to the Home Office without express consent.

      3. Open Severe Weather Emergency Protocol shelters to everyone, regardless of immigration status.

    3. To affiliate to the Labour Homelessness Campaign.

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homeless bill of rights

This CLP supports the Homeless Bill of Rights drawn up in 2017 by FEANTSA, the European coalition of homelessness organisations, to encourage cities to recognise the rights of homeless people. Seven have already done so.

This CLP Notes:

The Homeless Bill of Rights is a compilation of basic rights drawn from European and international human rights law, but made specific to the situation of the homeless and it includes those of people in emergency and temporary accommodation and the “hidden homeless”. 

1) The number of people sleeping rough on our streets has increased 165% since 2010

2) There is a correlation between the area who have the biggest local authority cuts and the highest death rates amongst homeless people

3) The number of people being placed 'Unsuitable Temporary Accommodation' has seen a 260% increase since 2010, which reflects the growing pressure on Local Authorities

There are huge and increasing numbers of homeless people who lack access to essential facilities and resources. The Homeless Bill of Rights is intended to change the way we talk, act, and think about those who are homeless and to contribute towards the need to recognise the dignity and humanity of everyone, whatever their housing status.

This CLP therefore resolves to support the proposal:

  1. The CLP adopt the Homeless Bill of Rights and thereafter in all its policies, practices and procedures that affect the people experiencing homelessness endeavour to comply with the letter and the spirit of the Homeless Bill of Rights, and promote it within the membership.

  2. The CLP campaign for the adoption of the Homeless Bill of Rights by the local council.

  3. The CLP affiliate to the Labour Homelessness Campaign.

HOMELESS BILL OF RIGHTS

We believe that it is the responsibility of all individuals, businesses and organisations, and of all local authorities, including ourselves, to commit to improving the living conditions of people who are homeless and to lessen the negative effects of homelessness. 

We believe that every person who is experiencing homelessness is entitled to the same treatment as any other resident in the city area. No one should be denied rights because they are homeless. 

In particular we commit ourselves to making effective the following rights: 

1. The Right to Housing

The most important right a homeless person has is to exit homelessness. Services supporting access to appropriate housing must be accessible to all homeless people. In partnership with other competent public authorities, the Council shall work to ensure that there are sufficient routes into housing to meet need. 

2. The Right to Shelter 

Where housing cannot be immediately provided, there must be access to decent emergency accommodation for all homeless people. The Council is committed to ensuring that there is sufficient emergency accommodation available to all, so that no one is forced to sleep rough for want of a bed. 

3. The Right to Use Public Space 

People who are homeless should have the same right to use public space and to move freely within it, and to rest in it, as anyone else. This includes, but is not limited to; access to pavements, parks, public transport and public buildings on the same terms as any other member of the public. 

4. The Right to Equal Treatment 

The Council is committed to ensuring that their staff and services uphold the right to equal treatment for all, without discriminating against the homeless. 

5. The Right to a Postal Address

The Council shall secure that homeless people who need one have an effective postal address of last resort. 

6. The Right to Sanitary Facilities

The Council commits to providing access for all homeless people to basic sanitary facilities – running water (drinking fountains), showers and toilets sufficient to allow for the level of hygiene appropriate to maintaining human dignity. 

7. The Right to Emergency Services

The right to emergency services – social services, health services, the police and the fire service – on equal terms with any other member of the public, without being discriminated against because of their housing situation or their physical appearance. 

8. The Right to Vote

The right to vote, to be included on the electoral register and to be given the necessary documents to prove their identity when voting in elections, without being discriminated against because of their housing situation. 

9. The Right to Data Protection

People who are homeless have the right to data protection, with their data only being shared by public and other services with their consent and only for the purposes of providing services and solutions to them. Homeless people have the same right as everyone else to exercise control over their personal details, particularly their health information, their criminal record if they have one, their housing and their private life and family history. 

10. The Right to Privacy

The right to privacy must be respected and protected to the fullest extent possible in all types of accommodation, including communal accommodation structures and informal accommodation lived in by homeless people. The Council is committed to working to ensure that all emergency accommodation provided can deliver on this right. 

11. The Right to Survival Practices

The right to carry out practices necessary to survival within the law. While the Council strives for a city in which such practices are not necessary, we recognize that where people have no other option they will seek support from other people through begging or foraging for discarded food to survive. Such survival practices should not be criminalized as such, or banned, or arbitrarily confined to specific areas. 

12. The Right to Respect for Personal Property

People who are homeless should have their belongings, including tents and sleeping bags, respected by everyone including public servants. They should never be damaged or thrown away or be removed without compelling need, and if they are removed they should be made available for collection without charge.

13. The Right to Life

The right to life requires public authorities to take measures to preserve life. When people who are homeless (including people in emergency accommodation) die, the Council is committed to ensuring that their deaths are recorded as such, and that in each case there is a reasonably public investigation in order to understand the causes of death and what might have prevented it.

1This is a fresh translation and two more articles have been added, with FEANTSA’s blessing, to reflect the concerns of UK activists and homeless people at a public meeting on 28th October.