A woman is outraged after her attempt to help a homeless man find housing was foiled because he has a companion dog.
The woman, named Sophia Jama, was attending an event in downtown Hull on the evening of December 10 when she spotted a sleeper on the street sitting near a bank.
Although Sophia is not affiliated with any homeless charities, she decided to take it upon herself to try and find a place where the man could stay amid the falling temperatures, as reported by Hull Live.
However, after contacting the Hull City Council’s homeless emergency number, he was told there was nowhere the man could stay because of his companion dog.
She said: “I often stop to talk to the homeless. I was raised to chat with sleepers on the streets and treat them like human beings.
“After talking to him, I found out that he was sleeping on the street somewhere near the flyover of Anlaby Road. He had this little dog, like a Jack Russell.
“He had a bad leg and it was freezing, but he told me he couldn’t get in anywhere because of his dog.
“I didn’t think it was fair, so I called the council’s emergency number, but they confirmed to me that they couldn’t find anywhere for him because of his pet.
“What struck me was that there didn’t seem to be any empathy from the man I spoke to. He told me that he had never met a sleeper in the street with a pet before, but I’ve seen a few all over Hull.
“Human well-being surely comes before any pet policy. He could have had hypothermia.
“I felt the board representative was not pragmatic, offering no solutions or pointing me to anyone who could help me.”
“I had nothing else to do and told the man that I would come back to see him the next day. “
Although Hull City Council says there are hostels that allow pets, Sophia is concerned about those who turned the man away.
Other organizations offered their help, including the charity of the homeless Emmaüs and Hull BID.
“A guy from Hull BID told me they knew the guy but didn’t realize he was sleeping rough,” Sophia said.
“He said he would try to help the man while I also contacted Emmaus who said they would try to find him accommodation as well.
“Emmaus said they knew the man who was already on a waiting list for accommodation.
“It’s an amazing organization that comes out in all conditions throughout the year to help the homeless.”
Sophia also took to social media to bring up the issue of people sleeping rough because they have pets and she says she caught the attention of Look North presenter Peter Levy and the MP Emma Hardy.
“It’s an emotional issue,” she said, “but I feel like refusing someone because they have a pet is immoral.
“Emmaus is studying this problem and also tries to meet the individual needs of people sleeping rough.
“But I would like to see this policy changed and urgent action for the most vulnerable in Hull, because we are a caring city.”
But Sophia doesn’t fully blame the board. She thinks it is a larger question of funding.
“I have the impression that the problem of rough sleepers has been exacerbated by the cuts to local government made by the Conservative government which have hit rough sleepers in Hull hard,” he said. she declared.
While Sophia was born in Hull, she is half Somali and raised with respect for people from all walks of life.
“My Christian family has always encouraged me to help the homeless,” she said, “especially my mother who often befriended sleepers on the streets.
“It showed me that camaraderie and positive communication are vital.
“Plus, pets, as therapy, are so essential to the well-being of people, so denying a sleeper on the street an emergency hostel if he doesn’t part with his dog is not a compassionate approach.
“Lots of cafes in Hull allow people with dogs in – why should it be any different with rough sleepers accessing emergency accommodation with pets?
“It’s good that Hull receives more investment and business openings, but that shouldn’t mean that there is a real disparity with the most vulnerable. “
Hull city council says there are provisions for people sleeping rough with dogs, but admits more could be done.
A council spokesperson said: “While the council does not comment on individual cases, we welcome these comments and have revised our emergency accommodation arrangements accordingly.
“Although there are already temporary accommodation options where dogs are accepted, including two hostels, the street sleep assessment center, supported rental apartments and new” crash pad ”, this case alerted us to the need to review our arrangements during our emergency winter. provision of a night shelter. “
But the advice says that those who aren’t comfortable with dogs should be considered as well.
The spokesperson said: “We were able to organize access to this provision for people with dogs, but we also need to balance that with the risk that other residents are afraid or allergic to dogs.
“We will do our best to work with rough sleepers with dogs to provide them with accommodation where possible. “
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