Homeless news updates

from The Guardian

All aboard: band tour bus morphs into mobile homeless shelter

With its leather interiors and swish entertainment system (although the champagne fridge now holds milk) the Embassy is dividing opinion in Manchester

The homeless duo who snuck on to the glitzy double-decker bus parked outside Andy Burnham’s office wondered which band would be hiding behind the blacked-out windows. As they explored, admiring its sleek leather interiors and snazzy entertainment system, testing out the memory foam mattresses on the 14 bunks, they found not a rock star but a smiley young man called Sid Williams.

The bus, Williams told them, had until recently been transporting the entourages of some of the biggest stars around the country: Tinie Tempah, David Guetta, Mumford & Sons, Sam Smith. But he had just bought it for £30,000 and was in the process of turning it into a mobile homeless shelter. He’d just parked it outside the mayor of Greater Manchester’s HQ to give Burnham a sneaky peek ahead of the launch later this year.

Related: Theresa May’s warm words won’t keep people off the streets this winter | Jane Dudman

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Radical Labour levy would double council tax on holiday homes

Party promises £560m raised would be used to help homeless children

Plans for a new levy on tens of thousands of second homes have been drawn up by Labour in a move designed to ease the housing crisis and generate funds to cut homelessness.

Second properties used as holiday homes would be the target of an annual tax should Labour win the next election, with each property facing an average levy of about £3,000 a year. It is the latest sign that Labour is prepared to back radical policies to show it is preparing for government and willing to target new taxes on wealth. The move could hit as many as 174,000 properties in England and raise up to £560m a year.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Charity may have shared rough sleepers' data without consent, watchdog finds

St Mungo’s was subject of complaint over possible link to deportations by Home Office

The information commissioner has found that it is likely that a leading homelessness charity passed key information about migrant rough sleepers to Home Office enforcement teams and may well have done so without their consent.

Some of these vulnerable rough sleepers were subsequently rounded up against their will and deported by Home Office officials.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Huge rise in ambulance callouts to deal with spice users

Figures prompt concerns from paramedics and police that some areas may be engulfed by synthetic cannabinoids

There has been a dramatic increase in ambulances being called to deal with people who have taken the dangerous synthetic cannabinoid spice, with paramedics in some areas of England dealing with six times as many affected people compared with last year.

The figures have prompted concern from paramedics and police that some areas may be engulfed by the substance, which has become a persistent problem among homeless communities.

Related: How spice, ‘the zombie drug’, is devastating communities

Related: Drug dealers target rough sleepers with ‘spice’ linked to prison violence

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Theresa May's warm words won't keep people off the streets this winter | Jane Dudman

Nothing the prime minister said to housing associations will tackle the homelessness caused by her policies

The warm welcome housing associations gave Theresa May on Wednesday should not have been a surprise. The prime minister popped in to their annual conference en route for her Brexit meeting in Salzburg, promising housing associations £2bn of jam tomorrow, in the form of longer-term funding for new developments, but not until 2022.

Related: Housing associations praise May’s £2bn plan as ‘total step change’

Related: Social housing: haunted by Grenfell, hemmed in by cuts, left in limbo

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Man mocked online for shaving on train says he was homeless and trying to clean up

Anthony Torres, 56, was upset by the viral video, saying strangers don’t understand the struggle he’s been through

A man who was mocked online after he was recorded shaving at his seat on a New Jersey commuter train said he was just trying to clean up after days spent in a homeless shelter.

Anthony Torres, 56, told the Associated Press that the people judging him on social media don’t know the struggle he’s been through in his life.

Related: Instagram is supposed to be friendly. So why is it making people so miserable?

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Dogs on the Streets: helping homeless pets and their owners

A team of volunteers helping those on the streets look after their animals’ welfare

• Michael Sheen introduces the 2018 New Radicals winners
• Bureau Local: ‘We want to find and tell the stories that matter in local communities’

It was seven years ago that Michelle Clark noticed the man and his dog. She was naive about homelessness in those days. She used to wonder, driving through London’s Crouch End, why she always saw the same man and his staffie, hanging out in the same place. One Christmas, she impulsively got hold of a mushroom box (“you remember the old boxes with handles?”), decorated it with tinsel and filled it to the brim with canine luxuries: blanket, treats, a little toy. Still, she hesitated. Perhaps this man was “chilling, watching the world go by”. Eventually, she plucked up the courage to speak to him (“What a beautiful dog! I see you here every day”) and confirmed that he and his dog were homeless. They loved her gift – and it started her thinking.

She noticed more homeless people with dogs all over London. She launched herself on a one-woman mission – went into mushroom box overdrive – she knew about pets because she ran a pet toy and accessory business. She also distributed double sleeping bags, roomy enough to accommodate owners and dogs together. Then, in 2016, her initiative changed up a gear. A homeless man collapsed in the street and refused to be taken in for treatment unless Clark agreed to look after his dog.

Related: Prison Voicemail: ‘Prisoners’ families are victims of crime as well’

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

New Radicals 2018: more of Britain’s best social enterprises

Projects chosen by the Observer and Nesta for making a real difference to society

• Michael Sheen introduces the 2018 New Radicals winners

Related: Dogs on the Streets: helping homeless pets and their owners

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness