Charity outlines issues with homeless migrants in Boston

THE issue of migrants coming to Boston for work but falling into homelessness has been laid bare by a charity.

The topic came up at a meeting at the Len Medlock Voluntary Centre, following the launch of a study looking at forced labour by Prof Gary Craig of Hull University.

Prof Craig said: “There are a number of people camping out on the riverside area around the town.”

John Marshall, from Boston’s Centre point Outreach homeless charity, said: “Ten years ago, the biggest impact in Boston was the sudden influx of EU migrants. The infrastructure was not in place to receive those numbers and we do now find people in desperate circumstances.

“People thought there were plenty of jobs and accommodation. But for many when they got here, they found this wasn’t the case – so some of them ended up coming to us for help.

“I immediately had to increase our staffing levels. Language was a barrier and still is.

“We had people that if they did go into accommodation they were asked to pay an enormous amount of money. For many of those that did get accommodation, it has been a very poor experience.”

Mr Marshall said HMOs being rented this way has led ‘to create a culture of resentment with local families’ who struggle to find accommodation themselves.

The extent of Boston’s current homeless situation was outlined when Mr Marshall told the meeting that, as of April this year, there were 36 rough sleepers in Boston, and spoke of how three people had died out on the streets in the last year of ‘alcohol-related abuse’.

“Some Polish would rather rough it out than be reconnected back to their home countries,” he said. “For two-three years, we have had the same people coming back to us who don’t want to go home. Some have got into substance abuse and are living a poor existence.”

Coun Mike Gilbert, Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing and communities, said: “We have aspirations to get local people back into local employment but not enough young people take up opportunities to take on jobs here as entry into employment.”