HOMELESS people are to be forcibly evicted from the Westminister underpass, which leads to Parliament, by installing rolldown shutters blocking the shelter off.
In December 2018, rough sleeper Gyula Remes was found dead in the underpass.
The underpass is part of the Parliamentary estate. Parliament announced over the weekend that it will install the shutters to keep the homeless out.
One of the rough sleepers, Tim, a 58-year-old who became homeless almost a year ago after the breakdown of a relationship, has dubbed himself the ‘Earl of Westminster’ and has written a blog about the eviction of his group.
Tim said: ‘We were a good community sleeping in that tunnel. There was no mess, no drinking, no drugs and no rowdy behaviour. But now our group has been broken up and we have nowhere to sleep. We are condemned to stop being rough sleepers and instead to become “rough walkers”.’
Laura Hughes, a friend of Tim’s, checks up on his welfare regularly and provides him with support. She said: ‘This is a human rights violation, it’s part of the hostile environment towards homeless people and it’s social cleansing.’
Rough sleeping in the London borough of Westminster increased by 16% between April 2018 and March 2019. During that period outreach workers recorded 2,512 people sleeping rough compared with 2,165 the previous year.
In June, Westminster council boarded up an area outside the McDonald’s in Victoria Street to ‘keep rough sleepers away’.
The amount of homeless people dying on the streets has risen by 24% over the last five years.
Official figures show almost 600 homeless people died in England and Wales last year, though the real figure is likely to be much higher.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that there were 482 deaths among homeless people in 2013, rising to 597 in 2017. Overall, an estimated 2,627 homeless people died during the five year period.