The Sanctuary occupied homeless camp on Ashley Road, east Bournemouth, was evicted yesterday, leaving rough sleepers struggling to find anywhere safe to stay or put their belongings.
The camp was the second set up by homeless people working with Occupy Bournemouth activists in the wake of a brutal New Year eviction of a site on Exeter Road, opposite the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) in which bailiffs tore down and crushed people’s belongings despite freezing conditions. An Occupy activist said:
Bournemouth councils attitude towards homelessness is disgusting and … with the change in legislation coming up we have a chance to support/advocate for, all our homeless to get housed.
The site had been under threat since last month, when owners Brightmark Ltd were granted an eviction notice — it’s tipped to become a car park.
The new Sanctuary closure is just the latest in a series of setbacks for rough sleepers in the area, who lost direct access to the local night shelter three years ago and have since had to rely on groups such as St Mungos, which have been hit by a scandal over information sharing with the Home Office. Many homeless people have lost trust in such organisations as a partial result — an issue not helped by what campers say have been repeated attacks by St Mungos on Sanctuary over the last few months .
Only last month, Bournemouth council was forced to backtrack on its installation of metal bars on benches to stop homeless people from sleeping on them, which became a national embarrassment after rapper Professor Green took direct action to remove them and 17,000 people signed a petition against the policy.
Meanwhile in London…
Following a successful resistance earlier this month the Sofia occupied centre in London was handed its eviction papers on Monday. The building, which has been housing more than 100 people amid a rising homelessness crisis in the capital, remains open at the time of writing and is looking for support.