The founder of Sheffield Tent City has emphasised how much container homes could change the lives of the city’s homeless, despite Sheffield City Council’s refusal to entertain the idea of these being placed in Kelham Island.
Anthony Cunningham, who founded the voluntary organisation to homeless and vulnerable individuals said: “I could end rough sleeping with the help of My Container UK, but it won’t get done because as soon as you take people off the streets you cut numbers and Whitehall will take your money away.”
Cunningham believes that little has been done to combat what is an growing problem in Sheffield, and that the council won’t change due to the threat to potential funding.
Cunningham, who started Tent City at the infamous Park Hill flats in 2016 said: “They need people in a destitute state to keep the funding going round and round. They ask for funding from central government, but nothing has been done or changed.”
The council refuses to build the container homes when just days before they cleared an abandoned building in the city centre of over 20 rough sleepers.
Cunningham said that the building on Rockingham Street, which has now been boarded up by the council, was just one of many in Sheffield.
“The council know all about these places, but they don’t care because it means they’re not in people’s way, and in their heads it means that they no longer have to bother about them.”
Cunningham has petitioned frequently for the container homes, and believes that they would help many homeless people escape the perpetual cycle of drug abuse that they find themselves in by establishing a community of people in a similar situation.
“The properties that they’re being housed in are in bad areas, areas that already have a drug problem. You may as well put them in these flats and say ‘here you go, have the local dealer’s number’.”
Cunningham will continue to petition for the container homes.