Under rules imposed by the city of London’s Hackney Council, homeless people will be fined up to £1,000 ($1300) for sleeping in spots popular with tourists. The London Borough of Hackney contains several notable attractions including Hackney Empire, St Augustine’s Tower, and St John’s Hoxton.
Hackney Council’s proposed “Public Space Protection Order” would give various legal penalties and fines to those who sleep outside.
The fine is fixed at £100 but can rise to £1,000 in court. How exactly do they expect a homeless person, with likely less than £10 to their name, to pay this fine?
The order has been condemned by homelessness charities in the UK because it turns the poor, who have been victimized enough, into criminals.
One such charity is called Crisis. Matt Downie of Crisis says, “Rough sleepers deserve better than to be treated as a nuisance. They may have suffered a relationship breakdown, a bereavement or domestic abuse. Those who sleep on the streets are extremely vulnerable and often do not know where to turn for help. These individuals need additional support to leave homelessness behind, and any move to criminalise sleeping rough could simply create additional problems to be overcome.”