Leeds City Council have teamed up with the police and so-called charities, to come up with the nastiest campaign yet aimed at discouraging the public from giving a bit of spare change to homeless people.
The above poster has been placed at key sites across the city warning people not to give money to beggars because it may help fuel their addictions. As ever the homelessness industry demands that people give the money to them instead so they can spend it on drink soaked conferences in posh hotels that cost £700 quid a ticket.
No thought at all seems to have been given about how this campaign will further stigmatise homeless people who already often face abuse and even violence from some members of the public. Those attacks will now be more likely as homeless people are smeared as addicts or drunks by the very organisations that claim to be on their side. The dehumanisation of the very poorest is no longer just coming from the pages of the right wing press.
The truth is that the homelessness industry’s own figures show that only around half of street homeless people have a drink or drug problem. And even these people still need to eat. All that campaigns like these achieve – if they are successful – is that homeless people who do have drug or alcohol dependencies are forced to beg for longer. No-one is going to give up smack because some bunch of fucking idiots have put a few posters on the walls after all. Meanwhile those forced to beg because their benefits have been sanctioned are left to go hungry. But then this is just a lifestyle choice according to Leeds Labour Councillor Mark Dobson.
What people in poverty need is more money, however it comes There is plenty of research which shows this. Yet this research is repeatedly ignored, not just by politicians obsessed with cutting benefits, but also by charities whose bosses are currently doing very well out of poverty and homelessness. To attempt to smear and impoverish one of the most marginalised groups in society with campaigns like this is bad enough. To do it to further line the pockets of overpaid charity chief executives is beneath contempt.
This is far from the first initiative aimed at stopping the public helping homeless people directly, but it is one of the most of unpleasant. Luckily it has been a dismal failure, with just £50 raised according to the justgiving website. The people of Leeds have shown they are better than this. It’s time these organisations realise that if they continue to attack homeless people then they won’t see a fucking penny of our money. Give a beggar a quid instead. At least you know it won’t be spent on campaigns like this.
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