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Finsbury Park bridge rough sleepers moved on

PUBLISHED: 15:30 17 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:58 23 January 2017

The bridge in Finsbury Park

The bridge in Finsbury Park

Archant

Homeless people who had set up bedrooms under the Finsbury Park bridge in Stroud Green Road have been moved on by Islington Council.

Four rough sleepers moved in over the last few months with mattresses, duvets and furniture, while others could be found begging in the same stretch.

The town hall reckons they went to the site because of the rise in footfall since the Wells Terrace entrance to Finsbury Park Station closed in July.

The outreach workers had told the people a week in advance they would be moved on Wednesday last week because the area, which had become covered in rubbish, was being cleaned.

They were told anything blocking the pavement, like their beds, would need to go because it was forcing people to walk in the cycle lane.

The council said it had been in discussions with the Big Issue in Seven Sisters Road to offer the beggars work selling the magazine.

Outreach workers, charity St Mungo’s, private company Parkguard and town hall drug workers had also offered the four people support, and managed to find a home for one of them through a pan-London service.

The other three were from outside the borough with no connection so the council could not offer them homes. They did offer them stays in the local night shelter but they turned the offer down.

They have instead been told to return to their home boroughs.

Brian Howes, assistant manager at the Crisis Shop further down Stroud Green Road, told the Gazette he had urged all four to register with the charity, but again, three declined.

“We’ve been down to speak to them and offered to help but not everyone accepted it,” he said. “They don’t want to go and register and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s mental health or drug issues. It’s a shame.

“If they go to head office in Commercial Street they can get a first month’s rent and a deposit paid and there’s courses and job coaching.”

Town hall housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward said he was concerned about the rough sleepers and beggars, especially over the winter months.

“We offer support to all people sleeping rough in the borough and can help with housing for those connected to Islington.

“Local families with children are immediately prioritised. If residents see someone sleeping rough, they can help connect them to local services via streetlink.org.uk.”

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