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Facts about homelessness in London

Posted08.07.24

ASB Forum

We know how important it is for people to feel safe in their communities, including those who are staying with us. That’s why we have an Anti-Social Behaviour Group that works with residents and businesses in our local areas. The group meets regularly, and allows anybody attending to raise concerns or questions.

The ASB Forum was formed  in response to antisocial behaviour in the East Croydon area, including around our services. Some of it inevitably related to our services but a lot of it didn’t, which meant that we needed a community effort to find solutions. Members of the local community often mistakenly blamed Evolve for these issues, suggesting that closing down our services might solve the problem.

“In order to address these concerns, we felt it was necessary to engage with the community more directly and dispel misconceptions about our services.” Says Tom Markwell, Evolve’s area manager for Croydon. “We wanted to emphasise that tackling these issues requires a collaborative effort. Rather than simply trying to remove certain individuals or services from the area.”

The forum includes residents, local group leaders, committee members, and representatives from the Safer Neighbourhood Team and Croydon Council. The goal is to educate the community about our services and work together on viable solutions to antisocial behaviour.

During the first meeting, residents presented video clips of antisocial behaviour, expressing their frustrations. We clarified that many of the individuals causing disturbances were not our customers. This distinction was crucial, as it helped shift the perception that our services were the sole problem.

One significant step was acknowledging when we could improve. For example, residents suggested our staff wear high-visibility jackets during patrols. This simple change allowed the community to see that we were actively addressing the issue. We also linked residents with the Safer Neighbourhood Team, encouraging them to report incidents directly for a coordinated response.

A key outcome of the forum was the implementation of joint patrols. Our staff, the Safer Neighbourhood Team, and local councillors now conduct regular patrols in the community. These patrols not only address immediate issues but also promote relationships and trust between the community and Evolve.

Residents often expressed concerns about drug deals and other severe antisocial behaviours. One local resident shared videos of drug deals occurring outside their home. We take these issues seriously and have worked with the community to address them. Although we acknowledge that we are only part of the solution.

An essential part of our role has been educating the community about our work and limitations. We’ve explained and shared our policies and procedures for managing antisocial behaviour where our customers are involved. We highlighted the unintended consequences of evicting these individuals, such as increasing rough sleeping and cost to the public purse.

Local resident, Brian* said, “I hope that the manager of Palmer House will receive praise for her current management of the building and the residents. Incidents of anti-social behaviour by the residents are now rare.”

The ASB Forum has allowed us to respond more effectively to the community’s needs and work towards a safer, more inclusive environment. While challenges remain, the progress made through these efforts demonstrates the power of community engagement and the importance of a united approach to tackling antisocial behaviour.

“While eradicating anti-social behaviour completely is unrealistic, the ASB Forum provides a platform for engaging with the community, preventing future problems, and promoting a sense of togetherness. It makes it clear that Evolve is part of the solution, not the problem.” Said Tom, from Evolve.

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