” Blatant attempts to criminalise those with nothing is wrong, homelessness can never be a crime, the fact that it exists should be.”

Liberty, acting for a homeless man in Camden, has successfully challenged sanctions handed to him by the police, which criminalised activities such as ‘loitering’ on any pavement or public street in London without a pre-arranged appointment.

In a legal appeal to the Met Police, Liberty argued the notice amounted to a ‘blanket ban on begging’, with a series of ‘overly broad and unclear’ and unlawful conditions that included not being allowed to be in possession of any open containers or cups.

Liberty’s client, a 46-year-old man, was handed a Community Protection Notice (CPN) by a Metropolitan Police Officer in March. CPNs can be handed out by police and council officers prohibiting individuals from engaging in certain behaviour. Liberty has warned that CPNs are often used to criminalise poverty.

The man, who is not a native English speaker, had been living in a tent in the Tottenham Court Road area but under the conditions of the CPN was prohibited from pitching a tent or any bedding in a public place in the borough of Camden – essentially removing him from his only form of accommodation.

The man was handed a translated copy of the conditions that were placed upon him, but did not receive a translated copy of the part of the CPN that outlined his right to appeal and the time frame for exercising it, breaching parts of the Anti-social, Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Liberty’s client, in not understanding some of the broad and unclear conditions placed upon him, continued to live in his tent which carried a maximum fine of £2,500.

On his behalf, Liberty challenged the Metropolitan Police for their decision to issue the CPN on the grounds that many of the conditions were unlawful and went against his basic human rights. The police dropped the CPN before it went to a hearing. Among other legal arguments, Liberty said the terms of the CPN breach the client’s right to privacy and freedom of expression, and requested that the CPN be scrapped.

The man is now in temporary accommodation and has found work.

Liberty has recently joined forces with several front line organisations, including Streets Kitchen and the Museum of Homelessness, to launch new “bust” cards to help others avoid harsh penalties for living in the streets and begging.

Liberty lawyer Lara ten Caten said:

“If any of us becomes homeless or finds ourselves out on the streets, we should be able to find support and safety. But rather than try to engage with the root causes of this issue, CPNs criminalise people who need help.

“Police powers are being used far too broadly, and in this case illegitimately, to criminalise people for situations they can do little to avoid. The Government has committed to scrapping the Vagrancy Act. The police are, however, still criminalising poverty by issuing CPNs such as this one – which stopped our client from even walking down certain streets, or from possessing a cup –  which amounts to a blanket ban on begging.

“We are pleased that the Met Police have dropped this sanction, and hope that this case sends a crucial message to councils and police that they must stop criminalising poverty and provide people living on the streets with any support they need to lead dignified lives.”

A spokesperson from Streets Kitchen said:

“Far too often we encounter on our outreaches those experiencing homelessness being targeted by the police and Camden council for no other reason than simply having nowhere else to go or put their heads down.

“This case is a typical example of the Police and local authorities abusing their powers against very vulnerable people in an attempt to move the ‘problem’ out of sight and removing them from any kind of support network they may have developed or need. This successful result of Liberty’s challenge once again shows that sharing knowledge, compassion and standing together in solidarity can generate much needed positive change. Blatant attempts to criminalise those with nothing is wrong, homelessness can never be a crime, the fact that it exists should be.”

Bust cards are available from Liberty or any Streets Kitchen outreach or hub

Streets Kitchen #HarshTruths: A film by Liberty

Our colleagues Liberty commissioned this important short film highlighting our recent work and the growing issues we and our guests face on the street as part of their Liberty Festival of Human Rights The film was made by the award-winning Tea Films

We encourage you to watch this film and consider coming out and joining us and our many partners to make a difference in your local area. Give a shift:

In the seven years that Streets KItchen has been operating, we have never seen such a growing predictable crisis on our streets locally and across London. Particularly in Camden & Westminster, where we are encountering brutal hostility to those experiencing homelessness who are on the streets.

Recent illegal enforcement policies proposed by TFL and encouraged by Camden Council only serve to highlight the complete failure of local Councils and their commissioned homeless services in addressing the growing numbers of people arriving on the streets. Such cruel enforcement policies can never be acceptable. It can never be made a crime to have to sleep on the streets, that blame lies with the central government.

Independent: Transport for London evicting rough sleepers from public areas in potential breach of law

Already we have a complete lack of trust with commissioned homeless services and those they are meant to serve through their relationship with the home office.

We need Councils to be very clear on their current relationships with the home office & cease this with immediate effect with a clear commitment not to criminalise those experiencing homelessness as is occurring much too often in their boroughs.

Homelessness should never be a crime, the fact it exists should be.

Our work recently during this Covid pandemic has been made possible thanks to amongst many others:

The amazing humans that are our friends and volunteers Museum Of Homelessness The Outside Project The Simon Community Oxo Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie, North Paddington Bank BreadAHead Marks&Spencer Boulevard Events London Hotel Group Streets Storage Highgate Newtown Community Centre Liberty Castlehaven Community Centre New Horizon Safe Store Pavement Groundswell Lambeth Larder ASDA IKEA Neighbourhood Organic British Library Streetwear Showerbox Streets Vet King Charles Pub Kings X Franco Manca Waste Not Want Not Healthy Living Platform Envol Studio Wenzels Gails Tiger Femme Fatale Tatoo Mosaic Clubhouse Maharaj Camden Dons Local Action Group, RCK, Merton Mutual Aid, Liz Holt Quakers Andy’s Taverna Ebury Lodge Hargrave Hall and so many many other amazing groups and individuals

URGENT #HelpHaringeyHomeless

There’s still time. The next planning meeting is scheduled for 8th March. Haringey residents, please voice your support today.

People experiencing homelessness in Haringey urgently need your help. A proposal has been put forward to develop a series of modular homes to house those who have been street homeless in Haringey. The development is currently at risk – the vote has been deferred by the Haringey Sub Planning Committee twice. Whilst the development doesn’t progress, lives are still at risk. We’ve listed more information about the development further down the page. We URGENTLY need Haringey residents to let Haringey council know you support this development.


You can also email the planning committee directly, the addresses are below. We encourage you to write in your own words, but we’ve also added a template you could use. In a year of crisis, do something amazing to support our community’s most vulnerable.


Dear Councillors

I have recently been made aware that planning permission has been submitted to build modular residential homes (and an office) for use as accommodation by people who have been street homeless (Reference No HGY/2020/2794).

I am a Haringey resident. I strongly support this application and would encourage you to approve it.

I understand a number of Haringey residents spoke in opposition to the plans in previous planning meetings. I would like to make it clear that there are many Haringey residents who give the planned site their full support, myself included.

Street homelessness is unfortunately very visible in Haringey. We have the second highest level of homelessness in the country. According to reports over 970 people died whilst sleeping rough in the UK in 2020 – a 30% increase compared to the previous year. It would be a travesty if even one more person was to lose their life, particularly if it happened in my own borough. I understand that in building modular modular homes there is an opportunity to improve, or even save, 100s of lives.

I’m also aware that Crossrail will cross through the site when this is constructed in the future. As such, it wouldn’t be possible to build long term housing on this site. It would be a shame for this space to be under utilised when there are so many people in need, and I can’t think of a better use for this site than to house the most vulnerable in the time that it is available.

It appears some residents are worried about antisocial behaviour, but I can’t think of anything more ‘antisocial’ than leaving residents unhoused when we have the ability to provide them with safety. To assume that all those experiencing homelessness are inherently antisocial or criminal is discriminatory. Rough sleepers are more likely to be victims of antisocial behaviour than to commit ASB themselves.

I cannot think of anything that would make me prouder as a Haringey resident than to create housing for the people who need it the most. I am confident all planning considerations have been completed with due diligence, and that Haringey council have made plans to ensure a duty of care for the potential residents. I urge you to vote in favour of this site at the next opportunity.



Haringey Resident













For more information on the proposed development, please see below.


A planning application was put forward to Haringey Council to build 37 modular homes (+ 1 office) on Ermine Road. These will be used to house people who have previously been street homeless. Whilst shelters, B&Bs and hostels are a good way to get people off the streets in the immediate term, modular homes allow previously homeless individuals with a longer solution which better allows them to transition off the streets before finding permanent accommodation.


The homes are being built by Hill Group and the project is being facilitated by Haringey Council. Streets Kitchen does not own this project, we are simply supporting it and advocating that others do so. You can read the full planning proposal here.


A modular home is a home that can be built quickly and efficiently. They are not as long-lasting as regular house builds, but are still built as quality housing – essentially, they are homes which are built to last 20 years, rather than 100.

The proposed homes are going to be built by Hill Group. They are fire safe, carbon-efficient and can be erected in 7 days. Each home has a bedroom, bathroom, and living space with kitchenette, to allow for independent living. Here are the layouts for the Ermine Road site:


Streets Kitchen advocate for the use of empty housing stock to be used to house those experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, property developers, landlords and local authorities often do not allow this to happen. We believe that repurposing empty homes to house the homeless is the right approach, but whilst we are still fighting to make this possible a modular home development will allow Haringey to get 37 people off the streets and into safe, secure accommodation. Because residents will only be housed here for a few months until they transition to their own permanent housing, over the years 100s of people can be housed in this development – there is potential to save 100s of lives with these modular homes.

To be clear, the proposed modular homes (24sqm) are smaller than the recommended size for a one bed flat (37sqm). The planning proposal states that this is acceptable because they are not intended for permanent use but rather as transition accommodation before individuals find long term accommodation; because smaller apartments decrease the risk of ‘cuckooing’ (where people take over a vulnerable person’s home to facilitate exploitation); and because smaller apartments allow for more blocks to be built, and hence more people to be supported.


Haringey has the second highest rate of homelessness of all boroughs in the country. There is a great need for additional homelessness support in Haringey. This particular development is planned to be in place on Ermine Road for 7 years. In 7 years’ time, Crossrail will pass through the site. The site is currently empty, and because of the plans for Crossrail, it is not possible to build permanent housing or any other permanent development on this site. As such, either we add modular homes to the site, or it remains empty. We see this is a great opportunity to utilise unused space for a good cause whilst it is available.

Currently, when rough sleepers in Haringey are offered support, they are placed in to emergency accommodation in the form of a hotel room. Hotel rooms are fantastic for providing immediate shelter, but are not an adequate long term solution conducive to independent living. They also cost £50 per person a night – building modular homes would be a much more efficient use of Haringey Council Tax.


The project is in the final stages of planning permission, however Haringey councillors sitting on the Planning Sub Committee have now deferred the final vote on this development twice. At both planning meetings where this development was discussed, some Councillors and residents cited concerns around antisocial behaviour.

Whilst the development is at risk of not proceeding, the potential to save 100s of lives is also at risk. This is an urgent, humanitarian crisis that needs to be resolved. 


Representatives for the project assure that the site would be staffed 24 hours a day by a combination specialist support worker (during the day) and concierge (at night). Individuals will be referred to the scheme by the Haringey Homelessness Pathways Team to assess vulnerabilities and potential issues prior to being housed. The units were designed by Hill architects in conjunction with leading homelessness charities to best suit the needs of those who have experienced homelessness. The environment will be well lit with appropriate but not invasive CCTV. The scheme has been assessed by the Designing Out Crime initiative.

To assume that all those experiencing homelessness are inherently antisocial or criminal is discriminatory.

Streets Kitchen believe that the most ‘antisocial’ behaviour of all in Haringey is to leave people sleeping on the streets, exposed to the elements, and to increased risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We advocate for immediate housing solutions for Haringey’s street homeless, the alternative being increased likelihood of illness, injury, long term mental health impacts, and death.


Residents of Haringey can submit a comment as a Supporter on the planning application. If we can get as many residents as possible to supporting the development, our elected officials will need to act upon this support.

Haringey is a brilliant borough full of loving, community minded individuals, and we think a counter campaign could easily surpass this amount. We need you to contact your councillors in the first instance. A list of emails for those with a vote on this issue is listed at the top of this page.


If you have any questions about the development, please contact Haringey Council.


Streets Kitchen is a grassroots initiative providing food and support to people experiencing homelessness across London. We currently provide hot food and assistance in 27 locations each week.

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Grassroots groups warn of coming ‘humanitarian disaster’ on World Homeless Day.

This World Homeless Day – 10.10.20 – the UK’s only grassroots COVID-19 homeless task force is calling for the government not to abandon people who are sleeping rough as the winter fast approaches. The taskforce includes Streets Kitchen, Museum of Homelessness, and The Outside Project who all carry out frontline work with people who are homeless in London.

The taskforce will be handing out hundreds of sleeping bags on World Homeless Day in a bid to offer some basic support to those who are left on the streets as winter is approaching. They are also calling for donations of new socks, new sleeping bags, and new tents from the public. These will be stockpiled for distribution through the winter.

A stark winter
Despite the fact Christmas is around the corner, the government has not issued any guidance to shelters and hostels on how to operate this winter with regards to coronavirus and has not provided any further funding to support the large numbers of newly homeless people. Evictions have now started again and many shelters are unable to operate due to public health measures, so people who rely on these shelters each year will be left out in the cold along with the thousands of people who are hitting the streets for the first time.

A recent report by the Lancet has stated that avoidance of death amongst people who are street homeless depends on the prevention of transmission in settings like hostels and night shelters.

Despite this, the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme has largely been quietly wound up, meaning that people have been left to return to the streets, leaving them vulnerable & exposed with nowhere to self-isolate if they do contract Covid 19. These supplies could therefore literally save someone’s life as the cold sets in

Jessica Turtle, co-founder of the Museum of Homelessness has said: “Winter is fast approaching and we are seeing more and more people on the streets. Combine these factors with the second and third waves of COVID and we are deeply worried about a potential humanitarian crisis. We are once again focusing our energies on saving lives and providing the essentials to people who are living outside. The government seems to think that the Everyone In scheme has solved homelessness when this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our museum records every homeless death in the UK but right now we are focused on saving lives”

Carla Ecola, director of the Outside Project said: “The COVID19 hotels gave an emergency solution to re-housing people who are homeless from the often overcrowded, unsafe, and unsanitary buildings they were being sheltered in. It was unacceptable that homeless people were still sleeping on hall floors in 2019. If 2020 has proven anything it is that people who are hard to reach and hidden homeless do step forward if given the opportunity of safer and more dignified housing.”

Jon Glackin, Streets Kitchen co-ordinator said: “We are staring down the barrel of possibly the worst winter we have ever seen for those experiencing homelessness. Day centres, where people could warm up in the day, are still shut. Shelters are not opening. We are calling for empty buildings to be opened, but at this point, we are moving into survival mode and gathering what we can to provide some small comfort to our friends on the street.”

Notes to editors

About the COVID-19 Homeless Taskforce
The COVID-19 homeless taskforce are a group of small, independent, award-winning community organisations and charities working directly with people affected by homelessness. Collectively, the groups operate across London and have been working together for a number of years, and have been supporting each other since the outbreak of COVID-19. This group includes Streets Kitchen, The Outside Project, and Museum of Homelessness.

All people quoted here are available for interview. Please contact imogen@museumofhomelessness.org

‘Hotels for the Homeless’: An urgent response.

We are a grassroots coalition of organisations working in various aspects of homelessness outreach, support, and activism, who already work together across London, and who have been supporting each other since the pandemic began.

We published the national plan for hotel access last weekend, amidst silence from the mainstream homelessness sector and authorities. We are pleased that the plan has been taken forward but we are deeply concerned that we are excluded from communications and planning and we are already seeing specific examples of this happening. By default this also means that the people we work with are being excluded, even though they are arguably very at risk from the pandemic.

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