Tags: homeless | spikes | london | petition

'Homeless Spikes,' Used to Deter Vagrants in London, Spark Debate

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 01:03 PM

So-called 'homeless spikes' have become the center of controversy in London after a picture of the mechanisms used to deter people from sleeping in doorways went viral over the weekend, prompting even the mayor to weigh in.

The debate began with a single picture taken Saturday outside of a luxury apartment building in London, Al Jazeera reported.

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That same day, Twitter users began condemning the spikes, comparing them to similar contrivances used to keep pigeons away. Others posted photos of spikes they'd seen in other parts of the city and country.







A petition started by a woman named Harriet Wells was created on Change.org, and started spreading through social media and picking up signatures. By Tuesday, it had more than 67,000 signatures.

Part of Wells' petition, which calls out the property owners and Mayor Boris Johnson, reads, "As a Mental health nurse in London I have all too often seen the result of isolating and mistreating our city's homeless. We should be offering practical and emotional support to help the most vulnerable to get back on their feet. We should not be sending them the message that they are pests that need to be warded off."

While it quickly gained momentum, the movement did receive some pushback from people who said the discussion of the spikes was a distraction from the larger issue at hand.



On Monday, Johnson responded to the petition that named him, tweeting his support for the removal of the spikes.



On Tuesday, The South Wales Evening Post, The Guardian, and even a newspaper in Alabama had published articles about the spikes.

The Post reported that, "A homeless charity has hit out at a high street bank for using controversial metal spikes in the doorway of its Swansea branch, designed to deter rough sleepers."

A writer at The Guardian criticized Mayor Johnson, saying his support was mostly a political move that he knew would play well with constituents.

Alabama's Huntsville Times decried the use of spikes in any part of the world, writing, "As our homeless population continues to spike, the last thing our city needs is 'homeless spikes.'"

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So-called 'homeless spikes' have become the center of controversy in London after a picture of the mechanisms used to deter people from sleeping in doorways went viral over the weekend, prompting even the mayor to weigh in.
homeless, spikes, london, petition
502
2014-03-10
Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 01:03 PM
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