Wednesday, June 11, 2014

London Mayor Johnson Calls for 'Ugly, Stupid Anti-Homeless' Spikes to be Removed

The same Mayor who's councilors have openly discussed making it illegal to hand food to homeless folks, something which is becoming pretty common in certain US cities, like Florida.
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London Mayor Boris Johnson distanced himself on Monday from the installation of metal spikes designed to prevent homeless from sleeping at a luxury building in central London. The “anti-homeless spikes” have prompted wide condemnation on social media.

Photographs of metal studs on the doorsteps of a luxury block of flats on Southwark Bridge Road in central London first spurred outrage in London and online on Saturday.

An anonymous resident of the residential complex told the Telegraph, that “there was a homeless man asleep there about six weeks ago. ‘Then about two weeks ago all of a sudden studs were put up outside. I presume it is to deter homeless people from sleeping there.”

Now top city politicians have joined the chorus against the spikes.

London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office called on the building’s managers to remove the spikes immediately.

"The Mayor believes these spikes are ugly, self-defeating and stupid,” a spokesperson for Johnson said.“Southwark Council are investigating, which is the right thing to do, but the Mayor is clear, the developer should see sense and remove the spikes immediately. There are far better ways to tackle rough sleeping on London's streets. The Mayor has invested over £34million in schemes to tackle the issue, like No Second Night Out, resulting in three-quarters of rough sleepers only spending one night on the streets. He will continue to work alongside the government, boroughs and key agencies to reach people in need of support.”

One of the residents also decried the spikes, saying it was not the right way to deal with the problem.

"It's almost obscene, I was really offended when I saw it myself. It's sending an awful message to homeless people," the local resident told RT correspondent Sara Firth.

Southwark Council said the installation of the spikes was a counterproductive move in combatting homelessness.

"Southwark Council is not involved with the installation of the studs outside of the property at 118 Southwark Bridge Road and we do not feel this is the best way to deal with the problem,” said Counciller Peter John, leader of Southwark Council.

"The studs were not part of the original planning application for the building but would be considered too small to come under planning enforcement, however we will continue to see if there is anything within the council's power to get these measures removed or an alternative solution found."

Meanwhile, a petition was opened online to protest the “controversial and inhumane way of 'managing' London's homeless population.” The petition calls on the property manager Property Partners and Mayor Johnson to remove the spikes.

“We should be offering practical and emotional support to help the most vulnerable to get back on their feet,” the petition’s author wrote. “We should not be sending them the message that they are pests that need to be warded off.”

RT’s Sara Firth captured these images on Monday of the scene outside the Southwark building. Protest banners were left by those in opposition to the spikes, she said. One sign calls for a Tuesday demonstration outside the building.

One pro-spikes resident of the building replaced the protest signs with a flowerpot.


ORIGINAL STORY 07/06/2014:

After photos of metal spikes designed to prevent homeless people from sleeping in posh London neighborhoods surfaced online, people have been venting their outrage with controversial invention all over the social media.


Photographs of metal studs on the doorsteps of a luxury flat building on Southwark Bridge Road in central London spurred an “anti-homeless spikes” hashtag campaign by Ethical Pioneer Twitter page.


An anonymous resident of the residential complex told the Telegraph, that “there was a homeless man asleep there about six weeks ago. ‘Then about two weeks ago all of a sudden studs were put up outside. I presume it is to deter homeless people from sleeping there.”

However, London resident Nathan FitzPatrick tweeted after talking to locals outside the building that only one person could confirm homeless were sleeping there – and that was a woman and a child.

“It is a scandal that anyone should sleep on the streets in 21st century Britain. Yet over the last three years rough sleeping has risen steeply across the country and by a massive 75% in London. Behind these numbers are real people struggling with a lack of housing, cuts to benefits and cuts to homelessness services to help them rebuild their lives,” said Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of policy and campaigns at Crisis.


“They deserve better than to be moved on to the next doorway along the street. We will never tackle rough sleeping with studs in the pavement. Instead we must deal with the causes,” Sacks-Jones added.

Local Londoners went to investigate and confirm the installation of spikes on Southwark Bridge Road. What is ironic is that part of the building where metal needles were installed is the office of the British School of Osteopathy – an alternative medicine school focused on healing through moving, stretching and massaging a person’s muscles and joints.

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