Three of London’s largest homelessness charities (St. Mungo’s, Thames Reach and Change, Grow, Live – formerly known as Crime Reduction Initiative), Greater London Authority (GLA), local borough councils, and the Mayor of London are collaborating with the Home Office to have EU (European Union) rough sleepers detained without charge and removed to their country of origin purely on the basis that they are rough sleeping.
Since November 2015 the Home Office has considered rough sleeping an “abuse’’ (or, more recently, a ‘‘misuse’’) of EU Treaty right to freedom of movement. This change of policy has effectively criminalised EU nationals who are sleeping rough, making them liable to be served with removal papers or taken to detention centres and deported.
Local authority-commissioned outreach teams from St. Mungo’s, Thames Reach and Change, Grow, Live patrol alongside Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) teams and share the locations of European nationals sleeping rough, circumventing the requirement that rough sleepers consent to their personal information being shared.
Homelessness is not a crime!
NELMA (North East London Migrant Action) and HASL (Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth) are asking for your help to call on St Mungo’s, Thames Reach, and Change, Grow, Live to immediately stop collaborating with ICE in the detention and removal of EU nationals rough sleeping.
We want to hold these charities to account for their participation in the racist criminalisation of homelessness. We’re hoping that if we can demonstrate just how many of us disagree with what St Mungo’s, Thames Reach, and Change, Grow, Live are doing, we can convince them that they need to stop supporting this divisive new Home Office policy and instead advocate on behalf of rough sleepers against the government’s attack on EU nationals.
Show solidarity with vulnerable migrants in our communities!
Join us next Wednesday 8th March in creating a Twitter and email storm between 10am-12pm (but feel free to start before and continue after!). We’re asking people to Tweet St Mungo’s (@StMungos), Thamesreach (@ThamesReach), and Change, Grow, Live (@changegrowlive). We’re using the hashtags #CutTheCollaboration and #StopTheScandal to help keep track of them. We’ve included some sample tweets below which will easily allow you to express your anger:
We’ve also made a series of graphics (see below) to help the storm get more attention!
Please also help us put pressure on local councils to stop collaborating with ICE in the detention and deportation of rough sleeping EU nationals.
We know that the following local authorities are complicit in this racist attack on rough sleepers:
Greenwich (@Royal_Greenwich), Camden (@camdentalking), Islington (@IslingtonBC), Tower Hamlets (@TowerHamletsNow), Waltham Forest (@wfcouncil), Hammersmith and Fulham (@LBHF), Kensington and Chelsea (@RBKC), Ealing (@EalingCouncil), Lewisham (@LewishamCouncil), Southwark (@lb_southwark), Haringey (@haringeycouncil), Lambeth (@lambeth_council), Westminster (@CityWestminster)
See FOIs submitted by HASL for more information.
We’d also like people to email St Mungo’s, Change, Grow, Live, and Thamesreach demanding answers. You can reach them at:
St Mungo’s: email@example.com, BoardofStMungos@mungosbroadway.org.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org
CGL: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Thamesreach: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
We’d also invite people to cc us in to your emails using firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve drafted a template email at the end of this blogpost that you can send . Please feel free to amend or adjust as suits you.
To: ChairofStMungos@mungosbroadway.org.uk, BoardofStMungos@mungosbroadway.org.uk, email@example.com
Subject: Why are you collaborating with ICE in the detention and deportation of rough sleeping EU nationals?
Homeless charities like yours should be working to support those sleeping rough – assisting them to find stable and safe accommodation, and applying pressure on government and local councils to provide more suitable and affordable housing – instead of colluding in the forced removal of EEA Nationals who are rough sleeping. Such forced removal does not help those who are sleeping rough, but merely shifts them to do the same but in a different place. Moreover, deporting people to countries like Poland when there are sub-zero temperatures is nothing short of murderous.As you are aware, homelessness is not a crime, nor is it a choice. We are experiencing a continued housing crisis, which is not the fault of vulnerable people.
The recent Home Office policy of administrative removal for EEA Nationals who are rough sleeping is incredibly divisive. It ignores the many situations in which people find themselves homeless, through relationship breakdown, as a result of bereavement, and because of a precarious housing and labour market.
This is what makes your complicity in working in partnership with ICE teams and local authorities – colluding with them during enforcement operations, on patrols, and in sharing information about rough sleepers with them – even more insidious.
You must end your complicity in the detention and removal of EEA nationals, and I, like many others, are expecting a public comment on this from you, as well as a demonstrable guarantee and commitment that you will no longer collaborate with immigration authorities.Yours Sincerely,