Struggling homeless man turned away from Hull hostels because of pet dog

A woman is shocked and angry after her attempts to help a homeless man find accommodation were thwarted because he has a pet dog.

Sophia Jama was at an event in Hammonds of Hull last Friday night when she spotted a rough sleeper sitting near Lloyds Bank in Jameson Street.

Despite not being affiliated with any homeless charities, she took it upon herself to try and find him a place to stay amid the plummeting temperatures.

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However, after calling the Hull City Council homeless hotline, he was told there was nowhere for the man to stay because of his pet dog.

“I often stop and talk to homeless people,” she said. “I was raised to talk to homeless people and treat them like human beings.

“After talking to him I found out he was rough sleeping somewhere near the Anlaby Road flyover. He had this little dog, like a Jack Russell.

“He had pain in his leg and it was freezing but he told me he couldn’t go anywhere because of his dog.

“I didn’t think it was right so I called the council’s hotline but they confirmed they couldn’t find anything for him because of his pet.

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A dog belonging to a rough sleeper in Hull who was kicked out of hostels because of his pet

“What struck me was that there seemed to be no empathy from the man I spoke to. He told me he had never met a sleeper in the streets with a pet before, but I’ve seen a few all over Hull.

“Certainly, human welfare comes before any pet policy. He could have had hypothermia.

“I felt the council representative was not pragmatic, offering no solution or reporting me to anyone who could help me.”

“I had nothing more to do and told the man 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 fired the man.

Other organizations have offered to help, including Emmaüs and Hull BID.

“A guy from Hull BID told me he knew the guy but didn’t realize he was rough sleeping,” Sophia said.

“He said he would try to help the man while I also contacted Emmaus who said they would try to find accommodation for him too.

“Emmaus said they knew the man who was already on a waiting list for housing.

“It’s an incredible organization that travels in all conditions throughout the year to help the homeless.”

Sophia has also taken to social media to raise the issue of homeless people sleeping in because they have pets and she says she has caught the attention of people like Look North presenter Peter Levy and MP Emma Hardy.

“It’s an emotional question,” she said, “but I think firing someone for having a pet is immoral.

“Emmaus looks at this issue and also tries to meet the individual needs of homeless people.

“But I would like to see this policy changed and urgent action for the most vulnerable in Hull as we are a caring city.”

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Sophia Jama has raised concerns about homeless people in Hull struggling to find dog-friendly hostels

But Sophia doesn’t blame the council entirely. She thinks it’s a broader funding issue.

‘I think the problem on the streets has been exacerbated by the budget cuts made by the Conservative government which have hit the homeless in Hull hard,’ she said.

Although Sophia was born in Hull, she is half Somali and was brought up to respect people from all walks of life.

“My Christian family has always encouraged me to help homeless people,” she said, “especially my mother who often befriended homeless people.

“It showed me that camaraderie and positive communication is vital.

“Furthermore, pets as therapy are so essential to people’s well-being that denying a homeless person an emergency hostel unless they part with their dog is not an approach. compassionate.

“A lot of cafes in Hull allow people with dogs – why should it be any different with homeless people accessing emergency accommodation with pets?

“It’s good that Hull is getting more investment and business openings, but that shouldn’t mean there’s a real disparity with the most vulnerable.”

A homeless man in downtown Hull
A homeless man in downtown Hull

Hull City Council says there are provisions for rough sleepers with dogs, but admits more could be done.

A council spokeswoman said: ‘Although the council does not comment on individual cases, we welcome the comments and have reviewed our emergency accommodation arrangements accordingly.

“While there are already temporary accommodation options where dogs are welcome, including two hostels, the Sleep Assessment Center at the Street, supported rental apartments and new ‘crash pad’ facilities “, this case has alerted us to the need to review our arrangements in our emergency winter provision of overnight shelter.”

But the council says those who are not comfortable around dogs should also be considered.

The spokeswoman said: “We have been able to arrange access to this provision for people with a dog, but we also have to balance this with the risk that other residents may be afraid or allergic to dogs.

“We will do our best to work with people sleeping rough with a dog to provide accommodation where possible.”

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