Non-local homeless not welcome

Homeless people who do not have a local connection to Bournemouth will be encouaged to leave, said a local councillor.

Homeless people who do not have a local connection to Bournemouth will be encouraged to leave, said a local councillor.

Cllr David Smith, cabinet member for communities, said: “Over the years homeless people from all over the country were getting a very good deal in Bournemouth. So what we are going to do is to make it much more difficult for people from out of town to come here and access all facilities. If they turn up now, they will be given a train ticket to get on their way.”

Councillor David Smith talks about homelessness

The local connection policy requires homeless people to have a genuine connection to the town of which they access local facilities. This is a concern to homeless people from outside Bournemouth as well as charity organisations.

Simon Chilcott, a service broker of The Big Issue magazine in Bournemouth said: “People who often come to Bournemouth to sell The Big Issue magazine are not from this area. The councils have a reconnection policy with which they reconnect individuals to areas where they have a local connection. But homeless people can be quite transient and could have lived in many areas and may not be able to claim any connection anywhere”.

Patrick Welsh who has been homeless from the age of 16 said: “I have been chucked out of my home by my parents in Scotland. I do not want to go back there.”

Mr Chilcott said: “People like Patrick do not want to go back to their homeland for reasons for leaving it in the first place. Nobody can force them to go back if they do not want to.”

Cllr Smith said: “We can’t force anybody to leave. If someone wants to sleep in the parks or under the pier or the back of the building somewhere we can’t stop them from doing that. But if we don’t make it so easy for them they might start thinking twice about coming here”.

According to the Council this would bring night shelters to concentrate more on Bournemouth’s own homeless people and provide services they are in need off.

Cllr Smith said: “We are going put the message out amongst the homeless community all across the country, ‘Do not come to Bournemouth because you won’t necessarily be welcome in here’.”

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