July 14, 2016
Residents have expressed their outrage that the tents of the homeless are being cleared up by Milton Keynes Council, and some have even had eviction notices put on them, despite these tents being issued by charities and organisations trying to help homeless people the city.
The issue was highlighted and debated for hours at a Housing and Community Committee at Milton Keynes Council Civic Offices last night Thursday (July 14) that OneMK attended.
The meeting’s aim was to discuss the ‘One Stop Shop’ for homeless people proposed in Milton Keynes Councils 2016/17 and future plan.
Although many residents and councillors support the plans, there were some concerns raised, which you can read more of in this week’s OneMK newspaper.
The issue surrounding the tents was highlight by Helen Wilson from the MK Green Party.
She said: “I am really concerned of the waste of resources, giving people tents and then the Council coming a long and clearing them away.
“This money spent on tents by organisations and charities could be going on a night shelter.
“The Council have even put eviction notices on tents, and often homeless people have not only lost all their possessions that were inside but also lost family photos when they were cleared away.”
Residents and councillors added to the outrage of this, with Councillor Alice Jenkins, from the Danesborough and Walton ward, giving an emotional comment that: “If the Council can spend £2.5million on air conditioning they can find money to help the homelessness
“I am shocked and disgusted that eviction notices are going on tents.”
For many shocked councillors this was the first they had heard of this action, and in response Duncan Sharkey, corporate director at the Council, said: “We do clear tents and we will keep clearing tents, because we don’t support the use of tents in the public places they are springing up.
“We are trying to balance out the needs of a wider community. If we let people stay in tents we get complaints from many other people.
“Where we get complaints you can make your own valued judgement, but we have to make decisions when people disagree, there are people who think people living in a tent near them is a problem.
“And we are trying to extend the offer we have got.
“We don’t disagree that facilities aren’t good enough.”
Despite some fierce debates throughout the evening, what everyone did agree on was that there is not one solution and a lot needs to be done now, before this Winter claims more lives, and we need more action than discussion in Milton Keynes.