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Lewisham Council rejects new immigration rules

Lewisham Council has announced that it will not collaborate with the Home Office in enforcing new immigration rules that make rough sleeping a legal ground to cancel or refuse permission to stay in the UK.

The new rules came into force on 1 December, despite local authorities and charities warning the Government of the detrimental impact they could have on rough sleepers in need of support.

Cllr Paul Bell (Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning) and Cllr Kevin Bonavia (Cabinet Member for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability) said:

“The Government’s decision to make rough sleeping a legal ground to cancel or refuse permission to stay in the UK represents a cruel attack on the most vulnerable in our society.

As we enter into the coldest months of the year, these new rules risk deterring rough sleepers from seeking the help they need and threaten to put lives at risk.

Lewisham Council will not collaborate with the Home Office in enforcing these draconian measures.

As a Council, we are committed to ending rough sleeping in Lewisham and ensuring we are an open, welcoming and inclusive borough. We believe these changes are discriminatory and undermine our efforts to tackle rough sleeping.

We will continue to support the Greater London Authority in lobbying the government to immediately reverse these changes.”

Lewisham Council continues to support rough sleepers through our rough sleeping team. The team develop tailored action plans supporting clients to move into private rented accommodation or into one of our supported housing pathways.

Successful partnerships and schemes commissioned by the Council help support rough sleepers across the borough. The Council works in close partnership with agencies such as Bench who deliver a Housing First service for rough sleepers. The 999 Club, Deptford Reach and Kings Church all provide support and assistance around health, wellbeing, employment and housing.

If you know of someone who is rough sleeping, you can send an alert to the Council via StreetLink by:

We will then be able to connect the person to local services and support.

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