Branch Secretary :

St Mungos back in the news: rough sleeper deportations

Worked with Home Office patrols that illegally arrested and deported


Homelessness charity St Mungos is once again under scrutiny over its role in working with the Home Office in targeting rough sleepers for deportation.  An article on The Guardian website today reports that [St Mungos] "has worked with Home Office patrols as they go out on the streets in search of rough sleepers deemed to be in the UK illegally to arrest and deport.”



The Guardian reports “St Mungo’s has admitted to the Guardian that it has cooperated with Home Office immigration, compliance, and enforcement (Ice) teams when they go looking for rough sleepers who are in the UK illegally.”   As the union organising many homelessness workers including in St Mungos the Unite housing workers branch (LE1111) has consistently warned that the senior management approach could lead to a breakdown of trust with hard to reach clients and severely damage the reputation of the organisation.


No longer speak up for vulberable clients


The leadership of many homelessness charities is increasingly narrowly focussed on winning contracts and they no longer speak up for vulnerable clients or challenge politicians.  Front line workers seek to do this through their union.


Crisis, another homelessness agency which has adoprted a different approach, referred the Guardian to a statement from June last year which does not refer to St Mungo’s but states: “If it is true that people are avoiding help from outreach teams for fear of encountering the Home Office, then these people will become more vulnerable, not less.”


The High Court has ordered the Government to stop deporting homeless EU citizens under a controversial policy that has been ruled unlawful as we reported here.  This “hostile environment” policy was introduced while Theresa May was home secretary.



Our branch supported the legal challenge and the questioning of the role of homelessness agencies where our members work in cooperating with the policy.  Clearly questions remain for many ‘leaders’ of the sector.


Paul Kershaw, Chair Unite housing workers (LE1111)


5th March 2018


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