Simon Hughes MP has asked for a meeting with the residents of 118 Southwark Bridge Road to discuss their concerns and the ‘homeless spikes’ which have featured prominently in the media this week.
In a statement Mr Hughes said:
"Measures such as these spikes are not any solution to homelessness, either locally or nationally. However, I am cautious about rushing to local conclusions without first listening to local residents and understanding their perspective.
"That is why I have written a letter to each of the residents of 118 Southwark Bridge Road to invite them to a community meeting to discuss their concerns about their area. I sincerely hope they will take up this offer so that we can find answers, not just for residents but also for vulnerable people who find themselves sleeping rough.
"I am aware that this part of my constituency has a problem with anti-social behaviour. Only last week at the South Bank Forum a group of residents from a nearby street approached me concerned that they were not being supported in dealing with anti-social behaviour from drug and alcohol users.
"There is also a wider issue here. Those without homes or fighting addiction need our help and compassion. They must not be stereotyped. I have worked with many Southwark charities dealing with homeless people and know about the great work that they do. Indeed our borough has many facilities to help people who are homeless, including a nearby St Mungo’s hostel only temporarily closed for rebuilding. Good voluntary organisations often provide an invaluable support network and are greatly appreciated by many.
"If some good is to come from this story, more people may have a better understanding of homelessness and what we must do nationally and locally to help provide support. It is shocking that in one of the richest and most progressive cities on the planet there are still people who have to sleep rough. Spikes outside homes in Southwark or elsewhere do not reduce homelessness by a single person. Solutions that house the homeless are the priority now, as always."