In Birmingham, as across the nation, homelessness has more than doubled since 2010. With cuts to local council budgets and support networks such as those which offer help to individuals with issues such as mental health, domestic violence and addiction, and with the continuing decline in social housing and secure accommodation, it is increasingly difficult for local charity organisations to cope with the need for their services.
Birmingham City Council have proposed implementing a Public Space Protection Order, which would cover central Birmingham and has the potential to be kept in place for three years. Whilst BCC is promoting it as a means to deal with Anti-Social Behaviour, one has only to look at the detail of the PSPO, which can be found on the Birmingham Be Heard consultation website, to see how this could impact homeless people.
A fine for obstructing a doorway or begging would be practically impossible for a homeless person to pay, inevitably leading therefore to a criminal conviction that would make it even harder for someone in already difficult circumstances to turn their life around. Liberty and The Community Law Partnership oppose this order, and Crisis has made a statement on the impact of PSPO’s in other cities, which can be found here:
Say No to the Birmingham PSPO is a campaign group set up to challenge this issue, and can be found on FB, along with a link to the ongoing online petition: https://www.facebook.com/Say-No-to-the-Birmingham-PSPO-566984807156377/
Our recent lobby of the council was supported by local councillors including Kerry Jenkins, Majid Mahmood and prospective Labour Metro Mayor candidate Pete Lowe.
These proposals are still at the consultation stage, so please sign and share this petition, and also write to your local MP or councillor raising your objections.
Say No to the Birmingham PSPO
Reprinted from The Midland Pensioner – Sept 2019