LEADERS at a city homeless charity have invited the Home Secretary to come to their day centre following her controversial comments about 'banning' rough sleepers from living in tents. 

Worcester has given its verdict after Suella Braverman said she wanted to restrict the use of tents by homeless people in UK towns and cities.

A spokesperson for Maggs Day Centre in Deansway hit back at the Home Secretary, arguing that being homelessness was 'not a lifestyle choice' before asking her to come to Worcester to meet homeless people for herself.

Worcester News: VITAL: Maggs Day Centre in Deansway in Worcester VITAL: Maggs Day Centre in Deansway in Worcester (Image: Submitted)

Ms Braverman said on X: "The British people are compassionate. We will always support those who are genuinely homeless.

"But we cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad, living on the streets as a lifestyle choice.

"Unless we step in now to stop this, British cities will go the way of places in the US like San Francisco and Los Angeles, where weak policies have led to an explosion of crime, drug taking, and squalor.

"Nobody in Britain should be living in a tent on our streets. There are options for people who don't want to be sleeping rough, and the government is working with local authorities to strengthen wraparound support including treatment for those with drug and alcohol addiction.

"What I want to stop, and what the law abiding majority wants us to stop, is those who cause nuisance and distress to other people by pitching tents in public spaces, aggressively begging, stealing, taking drugs, littering, and blighting our communities."

A spokesperson for Maggs Day Centre said: "Whilst Maggs would normally steer away from responding to political statements, as we are a charity for all, we cannot ignore the comments made by the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman.

"We can confidently say that in our experience of over 30 years of working with homeless people and rough sleepers, living on the streets is not a lifestyle choice.

"The reasons for homelessness are never simple and are usually determined by a range of complex circumstances such as mental ill health, trauma, fleeing from domestic violence, and so many more complicated personal and social issues.  Those people have no other option but to sleep in a tent. 

"Penalising those who believe they have no other option other than to sleep in a tent - by taking that simple, temporary place of security away from them - will be highly detrimental to the individual and to the many agencies, public and charitable organisations, who are working daily to intervene to make a difference by securing services and homes.

"Our citizens who find themselves living on the streets, possibly in tents, are certainly on the periphery of society with all the risk that that brings. We invite our Home Secretary to visit our day centre to talk to the individuals and find out for herself why people are led to this path."

Dan Boatright-Greene, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for West Worcestershire, has written to Suella Braverman, over her comments.

In the letter he said he had experienced homelessness at 17. He wrote: "I could easily have fallen through the net. If it was not for the kindness of strangers, the keen eye of an administrator at my college and the fantastic work of Citizen’s Advice, I am not sure I would be where I am today.

"I could easily have ended up in one of those tents you are so keen to ban. Being ‘genuinely homeless’ is not always easy to see.

"Some of us learn how to sofa surf, we have people around us who do not want to leave us in the cold but there are nights when you can find yourself on a train station bench.

"I know what it feels like. It is not a lifestyle choice. I never broke the law. Most people who are homeless don’t break the law."