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Stroud Green Road bridge: David Lammy says women living on street is ‘scandal’ and blasts ‘incapable’ council

PUBLISHED: 18:03 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:35 12 October 2017

K, who sleeps under the Stroud Green Road bridge after fleeing domestic violence. Picture: Loretta Thomas

K, who sleeps under the Stroud Green Road bridge after fleeing domestic violence. Picture: Loretta Thomas

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MP David Lammy has accused Haringey Council and the Met Police of being “incapable of helping” two women sleeping rough under the Stroud Green Road bridge.

A file image of Tottenham MP David Lammy. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA WireA file image of Tottenham MP David Lammy. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The Tottenham MP, whose constituency borders Jeremy Corbyn’s along the road, said it was “a scandal and an outrage” that Blue and K, whose story was revealed in the Gazette this week, were still on the streets.

Blue has been there for a year after her boyfriend and then her mother both died, while K fled domestic abuse and is afraid to go to the authorities as she believes she could be sectioned. Blue said Haringey are treating her as “intentionally homeless” because she gave up a tenancy five years ago to live with her boyfriend.

Mr Lammy told the Gazette: “This is a tragic indictment of our society.

“Back in summer I raised this with the local authority and with the police who seem incapable of helping these women.

Blue under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta ThomasBlue under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta Thomas

“It is frankly a scandal and an outrage that these women are being left to sleep on the streets while so much money is being pumped into regeneration schemes in Haringey and Islington.

“With winter fast approaching I am deeply concerned about their safety and I will be calling for a multi-agency cross-borough approach.”

Islington Council said earlier this week that workers with drugs advisory service Change, Grow, Live Islington visit the bridge regularly and point anyone who needs help towards their HQ in Seven Sisters Road.

Housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward said: “We’re seriously concerned about the health and well-being of anyone sleeping rough in Islington.

Possessions under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta ThomasPossessions under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta Thomas

“Specialist teams are conducting ongoing work here to tackle rough sleeping and associated issues, alongside charities like St Mungo’s and The Big Issue, as well as police and neighbouring boroughs.

“We offer support to all rough sleepers in the borough, many of whom are vulnerable or have complex needs.

“We cannot force them to accept it, but St Mungo’s staff are very skilled in working with hard-to-engage people, and a number of people here have recently been supported off the streets and into safe, secure accommodation.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Haringey Council said: “We are aware that there are rough sleepers in Stroud Green Road.

A makeshift bed under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta ThomasA makeshift bed under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta Thomas

“Rough sleepers often have complex needs and our street teams have been to the area to offer support, which we know people desperately need when they are homeless.

“We are also liaising with colleagues in Islington Council and homelessness charities to reach out to rough sleepers in this area.”

But asked about Blue’s allegation that she was being treated as intentionally homeless, he added: “There are very strict rules around data privacy and it would be inappropriate for us to discuss any individual’s circumstances.”

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