Call for action as tents pop up on main roads Homeless people living on central reservations and roundabouts in east of city
COUNCILLORS have called for action to tackle a number of tents which have appeared along busy Birmingham commuter routes.
The tents, used by beggars and homeless people, have been sprouting up in the last six months along Bordesley Green East, and at the junction of Muntz Street and Coventry Road.
Other tents haved popped up on the roundabout near the Blues Ground in Small Heath and on wasteland off Moseley Road, in Highgate.
The problem has been highlighted by community groups and councillors who are now pressing for action.
Councillor Shafique Shah (Lab) said a tent in his Bordesley Green ward is being used by a man who previously lived in a phone box.
He said: “It’s on the main carriageway at the junction of the traffic lights. I was concerned for his safety when he was in the phone box with temperatures going down.
“The Birmingham City Council Homeless Outreach team have gone to see him on numerous occasions and he refused any help. I have been told he’s there in the tent sometimes. He comes and goes. I have seen these tents in various places across the city.
“My assumption is it’s happening in our city due to Government austerity and there’s a reduction in services from the council and third sectors and the reason for all that is that they had a reduction in funding and they cannot provide a service.
“We are approaching winter and temperatures will drop. I’m worried for these people, they are putting their lives in danger. No one should be in these kind of circumstances where they have no chance but to live in tents.”
He added: “Birmingham is a great city, it’s growing with so much development, HS2, the Commonwealth Games coming, it’s not the image you want of the city.”
But his views were not shared by Imran Hameed from the volunteer Bearded Broz group.
Mr Hameed said their offers to help the tent dwellers had been turned down and he urged the public to donate food and not money to them.
He said: “I have been to see the two people living in the central reservation in that tent. They sleep there. We’ve offered them accommodation which they’ve refused. I have no idea why.
“There’s a makeshift tent in the roundabout near the Blues ground opposite the Ibis Hotel. He does not want to move. I’m aware of the guy in Bordesley Green.
“We should be getting rid of these tents and try to get them accommodation. If you want to give them something, give them food.”
Julie Griffin, the council’s acting director for housing, said no one should be sleeping outdoors.
Ms Griffin said: “Since October, additional spaces have been available to support rough sleepers, particularly through the colder, winter months so that there is a bed available for everyone who needs one.
“Through the Housing Options Centre and our outreach support teams that include the Homeless Outreach Service Team and the Street Intervention Team which cover the whole city, we are working with the street community to ensure that they are able to get in to supported accommodation.”
> A tent on Bordesley Green East