Homelessness in England

Council refuses to share homeless data with government

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Newham council is refusing to share rough sleepers’ personal data with the Home Office over fears it could lead to deportations.

The Government started the Rough Sleeping Support Service last year and it is currently being trialled.

The programme asks charities to pass on homeless people’s personal information directly to the Home Office without consent.

Human rights charity ‘Liberty’, which obtained information about the data sharing scheme through a freedom of information requests, believes the scheme could lead to the deportation of non-UK rough sleepers.

Newham records some of the highest homelessness rates in the UK, with 14,500 people in temporary accommodation in the borough and an estimated 76 sleeping rough.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are disappointed with the councils’ statements and have been clear that the Rough Sleeping Support Service (RSSS) is not using charities or local authorities to target rough sleepers.

“The RSSS was established last year to help non-UK nationals sleeping rough resolve their immigration cases and access the support that they need.

“Charities and local authorities use the service on an entirely voluntary basis and no information is passed to the Home Office for assistance without their knowledge.”

Swindon bus project provides shelter for homeless
Gerry Watkins buys up old buses to convert them into night shelters for people without a bed of their own.
The converted buses being made into homes for London's homeless
Buses4Homeless is a project providing shelter those sleeping on the streets of London.