Co-productive Approaches to Homelessness in England and Wales Beyond the Vagrancy Act 1824 and Public Spaces Protection Orders

Published 28/04/2022
Type Article
Author(s) Anton Roberts, Benjamin Archer
Corresponding Authors

Those experiencing homelessness exist in a precarious position in society; these individuals are simultaneously sites of vulnerability and criminogenic risk. For the street-sleeping homeless population, these citizens occupy a position of constant risk, requiring management and consideration of ethical obligations that arise from these environments (Killander, 2019). For as long as this social problem has persisted, politicians, policymakers and those involved in the criminal justice system have struggled to identify the appropriate means to grapple with this problematic dichotomy, which as a result has led to a continued criminalisation instead of other, more holistic approaches to tackling homelessness. This article explores two statutory instruments that have been used to tackle the issue of homeless in England and Wales: The Vagrancy Act 1824 and Public Spaces Protection Orders, introduced through the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. These measures, it is argued here, stimulate further the punishment and degradation of homeless people in society. Using co-production as a methodological framework, we argue that concerted efforts can and should be made to include and engage people experiencing homelessness in the utilisation of these measures.