Doncaster Tent city: organisers claim every 'genuinely homeless' person will have been housed by tomorrow

Doncaster Tent City
Doncaster Tent City

An organiser of 'Doncaster Tent City' says it has almost achieved its goal of housing every 'genuinely homeless' person from the camp.

Phillip Hartley, who helped set up the town centre camp a month ago, was speaking on Thursday afternoon, the day before the council is due at Doncaster County Court to seek an eviction order.

One of the camp's organisers said support would continue once Doncaster Tent City had disbanded

One of the camp's organisers said support would continue once Doncaster Tent City had disbanded

He praised the council for working with the organisers to address the problem and find a home for those in need.

Should an eviction order be granted, he said, the only people remaining to be cleared on Friday would be those with a home who are there for a 'free ride'.

"We've housed 35 people to date and there are just two genuinely homeless people that need an extra push to go to the council," he told The Doncaster Free Press at 5pm.

"Once they're sorted, everyone who's genuinely homeless will have been rehoused. When the council comes to evict people tomorrow, they will be evicting people with their own houses who are on a free ride. That's it.

"The camp was about highlighting the plight of homelessness and getting help for those who are genuinely in need, which we've done.

"When it's gone, that's not the end. We're in talks about a brand new strategy to tackle homelessness. The work and support will be ongoing. We want to give people the support they need to keep their tenancies.

"I have to take my hat off to the council for upping its game and looking at the problems. It has every right to come tomorrow and repossess the land."

A post on The Doncaster Tent City Facebook page on Thursday thanked everyone who had donated items like food, clothing and sleeping bags, and asked them to stop donating.

The post also said organisers had never asked for cash, and those who had handed over money were advised to contact police to check the individuals receiving it were 'legitimate'.

Organisers had previously said the site would be vacated by last Saturday, December 10.
After the camp was not disbanded on that date, Doncaster Council said it was applying to the courts for an eviction order because it believed the site had become 'increasingly unsafe'.

Should the order be granted, the council has said it would order the camp's residents to leave within a time-frame set by the judge.

Jo Miller, chief executive of the council, previously said it had 'worked positively' with organisers since the camp sprang up on November 19.

She said the council and its partners had identified 60 people who claimed to be homeless and all were invited to seek support but only 43 had taken up the offer, with the remainder choosing 'not to engage'.

In total, she said 33 people had been offered accommodation, with 18 accepting the offer and 15 refusing. Of the remaining 10, she said eight were not homeless and two had no access to public funds so were offered other options.

A council spokesman said on Thursday it would not be appropriate to comment further ahead of the court hearing scheduled for Friday morning.