Are London Olympics making Colchester's homeless problem worse?

7:00pm Tuesday 7th August 2012

By James Cox

A CHARITY claims homeless people have been sent out of London during the Olympics and are looking for help in Colchester.

Staff at Beacon House, in East Hill, have noticed an increase in the number of people from the capital since London 2012 began two weeks ago.

Some say they were given train fares – a claim denied by the Metropolitan Police and Olympics organisers.

But Andrew Brook, a project worker at Beacon House, said: “We have definitely seen evidence of this. We have noticed a lot more clients from London, people who have been moved on from the city or towns on the outskirts.

“There have been a lot of people saying they were moved on.

“They are coming in with the view that they are being moved, while they clean the streets for the Olympics.”

Beacon House provides medical check-ups, beds during the day and psychological support.

On an average day they will support up to 20 people. Anne Mason, centre manager, said: “We have had 40 new registrations this month. “It’s a lot, but the same as last year.

“The guys on our desk said the Olympics may be having some effect on numbers.”

The Colchester Homeless Shelter, in Alexandra Road, said it had not noticed an increase in the number of people wanting beds.

Pernille Petersen, co-ordinator, said: “We have had very few additional pressures as a result of the Olympics.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said it dispersed homeless people from around the Marble Arch area but was not aware of a campaign to move them on to Colchester.

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