Letter: Care on the streets

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Deborah Orr's article "If you're on the street, you need more than soup" (16 November) makes some pertinent points about the way in which voluntary agencies work with the homeless and I strongly support her view that hostels have to find ways of accommodating the most difficult of people, including drug users who are unable or unwilling to stop using. She is also quite right to point out that giving food and money to people on the streets is not a long-term solution to ending rough sleeping in this country.

Where she is profoundly wrong, however, is in her view that there are enough places in hostels for rough sleepers. Thames Reach's outreach team works on the streets every night in central London with people sleeping rough and on most nights we find every central London hostel bed-space taken up.

One of the greatest challenges facing Louise Casey and the Rough Sleepers' Unit will be to find a way of making more bed-spaces available in hostels for long-term rough sleepers, many of whom will come in off the streets, given the chance.


Director, Thames Reach

London SE1