Tag Archives: begging

Begging Is A Lifestyle Choice Says Leeds Councillor As Homelessness Charities Launch The Nastiest Campaign Yet

think-before-you-give

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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Don’t Give Money To Beggars At Christmas Say Bastards Who Run Homelessness Charities

Nasty posters like these have become a regular feature in some cities in over the Christmas period.

Nasty posters like these have become a regular feature in some cities in over the Christmas period.

Homelessness charities in two cities have decided to spread some Christmas love by urging people not to give money to homeless beggars in the cold Winter months.

A campaign spearheaded by Liverpool Council, with the backing of some local charities and the police, warns that “Your Kindness Could Kill” because many homeless people spend all their money on drugs or alcohol.  Elsewhere in Bath the message is more explicit, warning that the city has a reputation for being “easy to beg in” which could harm the town “socially and economically”.

These nasty campaigns began in 2003 when several London charities including Thamesreach and St Mungos teamed up with Tory Westminster Council to produce posters warning that beggars spend all their money drugs.  The message from the charities was clear, give the money to us instead.  Those whopping charity Chief Executive salaries won’t pay themselves.

There was a time when homelessness charities fought against this kind of lazy stereo-typing of homeless people who often face verbal and even physical abuse on the streets.  They might even have argued that addiction is an illness and not one that will be cured by making life even harder for those affected.  These days however they are squarely behind the ludicrous notion that the very worst thing you can do for someone in poverty is give them what they need – which is some money.

No-one’s life is going to be saved by a hot mug of soup or a quid from a passer by.  But it might just mean that person has a mildly less shit day because of the kindness of strangers.  And that applies whatever they spend the money on, which is as likely to be hostel service charges as drugs or alcohol.  Benefit sanctions and brutal social security cuts mean that more people than ever are likely to be begging for food or to put the heating on this Christmas.  They are just collateral damage however in this moral campaign to hide homelessness away and stop shoppers being bothered.

If these campaigns are successful and less money is given to beggars over the Christmas period then all that will mean is that those who were begging for food will go hungry and people with substance dependencies will have to beg for longer.  Or turn to other far more dangerous ways of making money, such as sex work or crime.  Nobody is going to suddenly come off heroin because of a few bad days begging.  Addiction doesn’t work that way, as these charities are well aware.

The sad truth is that Killing With Kindness campaigns have little to do with getting people off the streets and more to do with fundraising over the lucrative festive period.  Homelessness organisations, in particular the Big Issue who back the Bath campaign, are in direct competition for funds with people begging on the street.  They know that some people don’t trust charities and would rather give direct help.  They are using these campaigns to try and guilt trip the public into changing their behaviour in the nastiest way possible by pretending that if you give some money to a beggar it will kill them.

It’s never even occurred to the Ned Flanders wannabes running homeless charities that some people don’t care if beggars spend their money on drink or drugs.  Few people are heartless enough to begrudge a homeless person a drink at Christmas, even if they are a fucking alcoholic.  It’s not like those in charge of these charities are planning on opening up emergency detox centres on Christmas Eve. They’ll be too busy getting pissed along with everyone else.

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