A group of homeless people in Bristol could be effectively kicked out of the city today if a court grants an injunction applied for by the local council.
The hearing, which is due to begin at 10am today, will decide if the group should be banned from sleeping rough, camping, and parking vehicles from any land or public open space within the whole of the Bristol local authority area.
This would mean that unless accommodation can be secured for the group, they will be forced out of the city.
The Labour-run council applied for the injunction after a small camp of around ten tents sprung up in a local park back in April.
As homelessness has increased in recent years, so too has the number of homeless camps around the country. Last year Politics.co.uk followed the long-running legal battle between Manchester city council and rough sleepers who were camping out in the city centre.
Campaigners in Bristol have set up a JustGiving page to help towards the cost of legal representation for the group. Richard Lloyd from the Bristol Housing Action Movement said:
"A solicitor told the group they could represent them at the hearing but that it would cost £1,500. They didn't have that sort of money and there was no legal aid available so we just thought we give it a go.
"I was surprised that we managed to do it. If we hadn't raised it, they would be going to court unrepresented."
A small protest has also been organised outside the court this morning.
A spokesperson for Bristol city council said:
“We do not permit camping or sleeping rough in tents within our parks and open spaces. However, the council and its partners understand that sometimes tents or temporary shelters are erected by vulnerable individuals in need of help and support. The individuals encamped on the land have all been offered the support of St Mungo's Outreach Team which is commissioned by the local authority to provide support to people sleeping rough.
"We work closely with our partners to ensure that those that are homeless are supported to access help and accommodation in the city. This support is ongoing but the process of removing the individuals from the land has to begin which is why notices have been served. We are working very closely with the Rough Sleeping Partnership and other key agencies to address the issue of homelessness in the city, as we believe that no one should be forced to sleep rough in Bristol."