One of the most criticized steps in the war against the homeless has been taken by Cardiff University after it decided to build a stainless steel cage in order to dissuade the city’s homeless people from sleeping next to hot air vents outside a chemistry lab.

The 'anti-homeless' cages at Cardiff University. Photo: Lewis Hopkins

The ‘anti-homeless’ cages at Cardiff University. Photo: Lewis Hopkins

Students have reacted with outrage, saying that the move shows a lack of love and compassion for the less fortunate. Journalism student Lewis Hopkins, who took a shot of the cages, wrote on his blog that the cages made him “feel disgusted and ashamed” of his university.

Lewis Hopkins said in the article he published on his blog, after spotting them on his daily walk to university:

“A cold, ugly barred cage had been fixed to one of vents. I had noticed the winter before that these vents bellowed a comforting pocket of warm air, which from time to time was occupied by the homeless. They never caused any trouble, never littered nor gathered in groups. They were just content with finding a warm place to sleep at night.”

The spokesperson for Cardiff University explained that the cages were installed for health and safety reasons. He said:

“The area covered by the safety grilles are not hot air vents but boiler flue vents that can potentially produce products of combustion – diluted amounts of carbon monoxide being one of these – as part of the diluted boiler flue gases.

These vents are considered safe in normal use due to the type of flue dilution system being used but there could potentially be an increased risk if people are sleeping right next to the grilles for very long periods.”

Third year journalism student at Cardiff University,Morgan Towler, also said:

Surely sleeping in freezing cold and soaking wet conditions during the winter will cause more harm than the steam from the vent ever could. We should be helping these people in any way possible, not taking away their only source of warmth because it makes the university campus look bad.

The installation of such cages was not the first of this kind of anti-human action. It can be compared to the spikes installed outside Tesco on Regent’s Street earlier this summer.


Outrage was sparked earlier this year when homeless spikes appeared outside the entrance to a housing development (Picture: Twitter / Ethical Pioneer ‏/ @ethicalpioneer)

However, after public outrage, the spikes were removed on Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s orders.

Another video about Tesco’s ‘anti-homeless spikes is available on The Independent. Also, more photos about the cages in Cardiff University can be found on The Mirror.


(1) Cardiff University Installs ‘Anti-homeless Cage’ (by Lewis Hopkins)

(2) ‘Anti-homeless’ cages erected for health reasons, says Cardiff University