Woman living in tent in Bridlington criticises Braverman homelessness comments

A woman who has been forced to live in a tent for the last year after being evicted by her landlord has criticised the Home Secretary for describing rough sleeping as a "lifestyle choice"

Aimee, from Bridlington, said she never imagined she would end up homeless, but having a tent at least gave her some form of shelter and privacy.

Without it, she said, she sleeps on benches or even the beach.

"I had to do Christmas, New Year, my birthday homeless in a tent in the middle of winter", she said.

"I never imagined that I would be homeless but it's happened. Somebody comes up to and takes the keys off you and then where do you go? It all just happened so fast."

Over the weekend, Home Secretary Suella Braverman claimed rough sleeping was a "lifestyle choice" for some and proposed plans to restrict the use of tents used by people living on the streets.

She added she would put a stop to "aggressive begging" as she accused rough sleepers of causing "nuisance and distress to other people by pitching tents in public places".

It was reported she wanted to establish a civil offence to deter charities from giving tents to homeless people.

The Mind Homeless Hub, which opened in Bridlington six months ago, helps people facing housing problems.

Since 2021 the number of people sleeping rough across East Yorkshire has increased five fold.

Sam Bell, director of operations at Mind Hull and East Yorkshire said she was concerned about Mrs Braverman's language.

"Nobody grows up with the aspiration to be a rough sleeper or living in temporary accommodation", she said.

"It's a very complex state of affairs to be making blanket statements about."

Shaun has been rough sleeping in Bridlington since January Credit: ITV News

Shaun has been rough sleeping in Bridlington since January and is also supported by the charity.

He said: "People just look at you like you're scum and we're not scum. We're just people who've been in a situation and we're struggling.

"They might find themselves in that predicament one day and we'd be there to help them."

Mrs Braverman has been criticised by opposition politicians and the charity sector after suggesting she wants to place restrictions on the use of tents on public streets.

During a debate following the King's Speech on Tuesday, which made no mention of the proposal, Labour leader Sir Keir told the Commons: "We have a party so devoid of leadership it is happy to follow a Home Secretary who describes homelessness as a lifestyle choice."

On a visit to Lincolnshire on Wednesday, Rishi Sunak would not say whether he agreed with Mrs Braverman's comments.

The Prime Minister said: "I don't want anyone to have to sleep rough. I'm proud of the government's track record over the last few years tackling that."

He claimed the Government had invested £2billion in tackling homelessness and helped to reduce the number of people sleeping rough by a third.

He added: "There's always more we can do and that's why we'll keep working at.

"We said earlier in the year we didn't want anyone to be criminalised for not having somewhere to live and that's why we were going to repeal the Vagrancy Act, which is an outdated piece of law from the 1800s, and at the same time as part of that plan we wanted to make sure [when there's] violent or intimidating conduct that police had the power to tackle that."

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