Calls for action after ‘homeless’ tents appear all over the city

As we reported from birminghammail.co.uk ” Concerns have been raised about tents which have been pitching along major roads around the city.

The shelters, said to be used by beggars and homeless people, have been sprouting up in the last four to six months.

There are camping style tents set up along Bordesley Green East, at the junction of Muntz Street and Coventry Road and reportedly on the roundabout near the Blues Ground and on wasteland off Moseley Road, in Highgate.

The issue of ‘pop up’ tents and people living in them has been raised by community groups and councillors who are pressing for action.

Councillor Shafique Shah said there is one such construction in his Bordesley Green ward which is said to be used by a man previously living in a phone box, who ‘comes and goes’.

He said: “It’s on the main actual carriageway at the junction of the traffic lights. I was concerned for his safety when he was in the phone box with temperatures going down.

“The Birmingham City Council Homeless Outreach team have gone to see him on numerous occasions and he refused any help. I have been told that he’s there in the tent sometimes. He comes and goes. I have seen these tents in various places across the city.

“My assumption is it’s happening in our city due to Government austerity and there’s a reduction in services from the council and third sectors and the reason for all that is that they had a reduction in funding and they cannot provide a service.

“We are approaching winter and temperatures will drop. I’m worried for these people, they are putting their lives in danger. No one should be in these kind of circumstances where they have no chance but to live in tents.

“Birmingham is a great city, it’s growing with so much development, HS2, the Commonwealth Games coming, it’s not the image you want of the city.”

His ‘ austerity’ views are not shared by Imran Hameed from volunteer run Bearded Broz which reaches out to those in need.

Mr Hameed said their offers to help the people living in tents had been turned down and he urged generous members of the public to donate food and not money to them.

He said: “I have been to see the two people living in the central reservation in that tent. They sleep there. We’ve offered them accommodation which they’ve refused. I have no idea why.

“There’s a makeshift tent in the roundabout near the Blues ground opposite the Ibis Hotel. He does not want to move. I’m aware of the guy in Bordesley Green.

“We should be getting rid of these tents and try to get them accommodation. If you want to give them something, give them food.”

Julie Griffin, acting director for housing at the council said no one should be sleeping outdoors.

Ms Griffin said: “We are working closely with individuals and partner organisations throughout the city, as well as central government, to ensure that impactful strides are made to prevent homelessness in Birmingham.

“Since 1 October, additional spaces have been available to support rough sleepers, particularly through the colder, winter months so that there is a bed available for everyone who needs one.

“No one needs to sleep outdoors who does not wish to.

So what do you think?

Tell us in the comments.

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