© Luke MacGregor / Reuters
25 Jul, 2017
The council has reportedly attached notices to bags left in doorways warning that fines could be incurred.
Oxford City Council says the bags could cause a fire hazard by blocking fire escapes.
Local Green Party councillor David Thomas told the BBC the move was an “outrageous” attempt to “intimidate” the city’s homeless people.
A homeless man, named as Nero, told the BBC he had had possessions confiscated by the council.
“Most of the stuff which was taken was stuff that the public donated… it’s a shame,” he said.
Another man was asked about the storage lockers available to those receiving aid services through official channels.
“What Oxford needs is a just a space for stuff to be stored,” he said, arguing the lockers are not big enough.
While homelessness in cities receives much more attention, a recent report suggested it is a far bigger problem in rural areas than previously thought.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) warned in mid-July that the “hidden crisis” of homelessness in England’s countryside is being “underestimated” as people bed down away from the public eye in places like parked cars, barns, outhouses and tents.
“Homelessness, traditionally depicted as an urban street phenomenon, is notably absent in people’s understanding of rural life,” the report said.
“The stigma of being visibly homeless in rural areas can be much stronger than in urban areas and difficulties accessing local authority services can mean households remain uncounted in official records.”
The report found that between 2010 and 2016, cases of homelessness increased by a staggering 32 percent in “mainly rural” areas, while they jumped by 52 percent in “largely rural” ones.