Around 80% of known rough sleepers in Lincoln are from the UK, while 20% are foreign nationals who ‘cannot access or refuse council help’.
City of Lincoln councillors have been told there is a “high level” or EU nationals, who have come to the UK as farm workers and lost their employment, who cannot claim public funding such as benefits or housing assistance.
The council, alongside third sector partners, says it tries to help them get back to their home, including buying plane tickets, and says there have been some “great successes” including reuniting families and helping them gain employment.
However, Yvonne Fox, Assistant Director of Housing at City of Lincoln Council said: “Not everyone we meet wishes to return to their country of origin and some choose to sleep rough while they work to earn enough money to afford to rent from the private sector. Others prefer to sleep out rather than go home, and tell us ‘there nothing to return home to’.
“Our partners offer continued support and engagement, working with the rough sleepers to establish any right to remain in the UK, seek access to public funds and try to assist people into employment where possible, and sometimes the decision to return home is made only after months of sleeping out.
“However, people can only be reconnected to their country of origin if they agree to be.”
The authority has limited powers to help those with refugee status or those who have leave to remain.
According to figures from the City of Lincoln, at the last count, there were 31 people currently classed as homeless on the streets of Lincoln.
The authority helped 538 people between April and December last year, preventing 161 from becoming homeless.
SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from coverage every week, as well as insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.