You could be killing with kindness if you give money to some homelessness charities.
Many well-meaning people donate spare change to homelessness charities without realising they might be supporting policies which harm, and could even kill homeless people.
Several homeless charities use workfare staff who face benefit sanctions if they refuse to work for free. These sanctions have been linked to suicides, homelessness, ill health and desperate poverty. Both the Salvation Army and the YMCA are heavily involved with workfare.
Despite many tragic deaths on the streets many homelessness charities oppose help being given directly such as soups runs. One organisation (Thamesreach) even supported a Tory council’s failed attempt to make it illegal to give food to homeless people.
Thamesreach, again, and St Mungo’s carry out a racist repatriation scheme on behalf of the Tory government in which workers are sent out to coerce homeless migrants to go back to where they came from. Thamesreach have also been involved in ‘supporting’ squat evictions.
Many homelessness charities have co-operated with the police to run anti-begging campaigns which stereotype homeless people as drug addicts or criminals. Homeless people already often face abuse and even violence from some members of the public – these campaigns make that more likely.
Most homelessness charities which beg for money aren’t really poor. Chief Executives are often paid huge sums whilst the homelessness industry holds regular conferences in swanky hotels where tickets can cost as much as £600!
By giving money to homelessness charities you are encouraging behaviour which often harms homeless people. Give responsibly and give direct to the homeless this Christmas. If you are concerned about rising homelessness then contact a local housing campaign and get involved.
Happy Christmas folks – jv
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