Samir Jeraj, Hackney Green Party’s candidate for the forthcoming mayoral election, has criticised the Labour council’s punitive stance on homelessness in the borough.
If elected, Samir pledges to rule out further Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), such as the one proposed by the council, which sought to fine rough sleepers up to £1000. The council eventually backed down after pressure from the Greens and others, but their position on whether they will introduce future PSPOs is unclear.
Instead, Samir and the Green Party would look to invest in services for homeless people to help get them off the streets.
The Greens have also previously criticised Hackney Council after horrific conditions were uncovered at a privately-run hostel.
Samir said: “Rather than treating homeless people like criminals, we’d look at ways of helping them to get back on their feet and into decent accommodation. An investment in Hackney’s homeless services and a review of hostel provision is urgently needed, as well as action on the housing crisis.
“Unfortunately, due to this and the government’s austerity policies, homelessness is on the rise in Hackney, but we have to help rather than persecute these vulnerable people.”
According to the London Poverty Report Hackney has the third highest rate of homelessness across London.