Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tories Ban BBC from Taking in the Homeless at Christmas

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tories Ban BBC from Taking in the Homeless at Christmas

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

A HOMELESS charity has been banned from opening a Christmas shelter forrough sleepers at the BBC.

Conservative-run Hammersmith and Fulham council has been condemned afterrefusing to allow Crisis to use one of the corporation's buildings near TVCentre in Wood Lane.

The charity says that despite appeals to Tory party chairman Caroline Spelmanand former leader Iain Duncan Smith, borough leaders refused to meet to discussthe proposal.

It is the second year that Hammersmith and Fulham has refused to allow the BBCpremises to be used to provide food, warmth and companionship to singlehomeless people over Christmas.

The council, which switched from Labour to Tory control in May last year, saysit blocked the plans because it has already given permission for another Crisisshelter to open in Shepherd's Bush.

The charity, which plans to open eight such centres in the capital as part ofits Crisis Open Christmas scheme starting on Sunday, said it was "very keen" totake "very keen" to take up the BBC's offer after struggling to find premises.BBC staff are understood to have supported the shelter idea and many were setto help out at it.

Up to 2,000 people are expected to use the eight Crisis centres over the weekthey are in place. One third tend to be rough sleepers and the remainder the"hidden homeless" who live in hostels or squats or sleep on friends' floors.

Duncan Shrubsole, the charity's director of policy and research, said: "Thecouncil's decision to block use of an excellent building donated by the BBC hasbeen deeply disappointing.

"We have delivered Crisis Open Christmas for 36 years, providing support tothousands of homeless and vulnerably housed people.

"Of particular concern is that when we wrote to the council leaders they werenot even prepared to meet us to discuss their concerns. …

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