Relief as Government Abandons Proposal to Make Homelessness a Criminal Offense

May 2024

Statement from John Holmstrom, Chief Executive of Turning Tides.

“Turning Tides are heartened by the government’s decision to abandon the proposed measures in the Criminal Justice Bill that would have unfairly targeted our society’s most vulnerable individuals—those without a home. The initial proposal, which included provisions to penalise “nuisance begging” and potentially criminalise rough sleeping, was met with significant concern from both the public and members of Parliament. It is a relief to see that compassion and reason have prevailed, with the government opting for Police to direct anyone sleeping rough to support rather than imposing punitive measures”.


“As an organisation dedicated to supporting individuals experiencing homelessness, we believe that the focus should always be on assistance and rehabilitation, not criminalisation. We already work closely with the local police. This provides a much better framework for collaboration for all agencies involved to end the need to sleep rough”.


“We commend the MPs who voiced their objections and the charities that have worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of homeless individuals. This outcome is a testament to the power of collective action and the importance of upholding the dignity of all members of our community”.


“Turning Tides remains committed to working alongside the government and other organisations to end homelessness. We see this development not as an end, but as a positive step forward in our ongoing efforts to create a society where everyone has a place to call home”.




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