Moran seeks to legalise rough sleeping amid Covid-19 fears

first_imgPrior to the presentation of her bill, Moran said: “Roughsleepers urgently need accommodation, health checks and support in the face of Coronavirus.I am concerned that homeless people will be disproportionately affected by the detentionmeasures in the new emergency legislation.” Moran has also called for safe spaces to be provided forhomeless and vulnerable people to self-isolate. “The government shouldseek to care for homeless people and set up special services for them indisused buildings or vacated offices in cities,” she said. The Vagrancy Act has already been repealed in Scotland andNorthern Ireland, and Moran’s bill will extend its repeal to England and Wales.There were 1,320 prosecutions under the Act in 2018. “A new compassionate approach must include scrapping theVagrancy Act. It is a cruel, Dickensian law that criminalises people just forsleeping rough. Being homeless should not be a crime. We should be caring forpeople who end up on the streets, not locking them up.” Moran’s bill has cross-party support and is co-sponsored by six MPs, amongst them former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas. Layla Moran will present parliament with a Bill to repeal the Vagrancy Act, a law passed in 1824 which criminalises homeless people for rough sleeping and begging. Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said that the outbreak of Coronavirus means that “now more than ever, we need a compassionate approach to homelessness”. “These facilities should provide a sanitised place toeat, drink water and use the toilet. And, they should provide safe spaces forvulnerable people to self-isolate with dignity, as opposed to within adetention facility following arrest.”last_img