Urgent #HelpHaringeyHomeless

#HelpHaringeyHomeless

People experiencing homelessness in Haringey urgently need your help. We quickly need to show support for a new housing development to support those who are street homeless. The development is currently at risk due to complaints from some residents. We need Haringey residents to let Haringey council know you support this development. We encourage you to write an email in your own words, but there’s also a template below. We’ve listed more information about the development further down the page.

In a year of crisis, do something amazing to support our community’s most vulnerable.

We are also hosting an open public community ‘meeting’ on zoom Monday 25 January 630pm, where local Cllrs. and community organisations will be present to discuss the project.
https://zoom.us/j/91477245923?

pwd=Qmo4anY4NEs3WGVabVI4SlRhWDBUZz09

Meeting ID: 914 7724 5923
Passcode: 399883

TEMPLATE

Dear Councillors

I have recently been made aware that planning permission has been submitted to build 37 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 a meeting on Monday 11th. 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 750 people died whilst sleeping rough in the UK in 2019, and this number is increasing year on 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 37 modular modular homes there is an opportunity to improve, or even save, 100s of lives.

I’m also aware that the planned HS2 railway 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 37 residents unhoused when we have the ability to house them. To assume that all those experiencing homelessness are inherently antisocial or criminal is discriminatory.

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.

Thanks,

[Name]

Haringey Resident

SEND IT TO:

sarah.williams@haringey.gov.uk,

gina.adamou@haringey.gov.uk,

dhiren.basu@haringey.gov.uk,

john.bevan@haringey.gov.uk,

luke.cawley-harrison@haringey.gov.uk,

justin.hinchcliffe@haringey.gov.uk,

peter.mitchell@haringey.gov.uk,

reg.rice@haringey.gov.uk,

viv.ross@haringey.gov.uk,

yvonne.say@haringey.gov.uk,

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

THE PLAN

Haringey Council are planning 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.

WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THE PROJECT?

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.

WHAT’S A MODULAR HOME?

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:

WHY NOT HOUSE PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS IN REGULAR HOMES?

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.

WHY HARINGEY?

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, the HS2 railway will pass through the site. The site is currently empty, and because of the planned HS2 line, 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.

WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION?

The project is in the final stages of planning permission. At a planning permission call on Monday 11th January, 3 Haringey councillors, 1 Hackney councillor and 5 Haringey residents spoke opposing the development. Their primary concern was around antisocial behaviour. A petition has been circulated opposing the development which, according to the planning proposal document, had 54 signatories, a number of which were anonymous.

At the planning permission meeting, the council decided to defer the vote as to whether this progresses. The next meeting is on 8th February. If the councillors vote against the development, it will not progress.

Whilst the development is at risk of not proceeding, the potential to save 37 lives (and 100s down the line) is also at risk. This is an urgent, humanitarian crisis that needs to be resolved. 

HOW HAVE THE CONCERNS RE ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR BEEN ADDRESSED?

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.

HOW CAN I HELP?

As local representatives Haringey councillors need to take their resident’s concerns into account. At present, a petition opposing the campaign has been raised, whereas (as far as we know) no campaign supporting the development has been put in place. If we can get as many Haringey residents as possible to contact Haringey councillors supporting the campaign, our elected officials will need to act upon this support.

The opposing petition gained 54 signatures. 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.

I HAVE QUESTIONS

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

WHO ARE STREETS KITCHEN

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.

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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Ground breaking grassroots night shelter opens in former industrial site

Charities, community groups, the Mayor of London and local councils are coming together to open an innovative new winter night shelter to help people with nowhere to sleep in Camden and Islington this winter, with the opening of The Glass House: a ‘liminal’ space project.

The project will be run for three months in a disused factory building in Islington after a private owner offered the property to community groups to help people experiencing homelessness.

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