Homeless charities call for greater awareness of people sleeping in wheelie bins after two men almost killed in treacherous floodwater

Telegraph 3 weeks ago

Homeless charities have called for greater awareness of people sleeping in wheelie bins after two men were almost killed by treacherous floodwater in Nottinghamshire.

The pair became trapped in an industrial container after the River Ryton burst its banks following heavy rain in Worksop last week, the fire service said.

Torrential downpours across the UK have seen 900 properties flooded and 21,000 at risk of being deluged.

Last night 77 flood warnings and 108 flood alerts were still in place as communities across the Midlands and northern areas braced themselves for further showers.

The former High Sheriff of Derbyshire, Annie Hall, was swept to her death last week after getting caught up in the powerful currents of the River Derwent near Matlock in Derbyshire.

Matt Harrison, director of StreetLink, said homeless people should be warned about the dangers of bedding down in bins for the night, particularly during bad weather.

He told The Telegraph: "Waste management companies can tighten up their procedures by for example introducing a formal policy for checking bins prior to tipping, which is one of the most reliable ways to make sure people's lives are not endangered.

“Others can provide their waste crews with the StreetLink number, so they can alert services if they find someone they are concerned is sleeping rough.

“We in the homelessness sector can also play our part by better communicating to the people we are supporting the dangers of sheltering in bins. Many individuals may just not realise the risk they run - or they may feel, especially in bad weather, that they don’t have any other choice.”

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, added: “It is simply inhumane that for many people sleeping rough, spending the night in a bin feels like the only option available.

“With temperatures often plunging to below freezing overnight and in this case severe flooding, this form of ‘shelter’ can be incredibly dangerous, or even fatal in some cases.

“Whilst there is increased awareness and training for those working in waste collection which is positive, the onus should not really sit at their door. 

"As a society, we need to be focused on the causes forcing people into this kind of homelessness in the first place. To tackle this head on, we really need to see is more of a focus from the government in addressing these underlying issues such as the lack of social housing and spiraling rental costs.”

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