Don’t demonise beggars. It won’t solve the problem of homelessness

Homelessness has increased 170% since 2010 and more people are on the streets. And we are using a 200-year-old law to lock up homeless addicts for begging, in some cases sending them to already overcrowded prisons.

Vigilante groups are even naming and shaming rough sleepers they believe to be “professional beggars”.

The police reaction? Arrest, caution, lock them up. Lock people up and fine people with no money. What do the police think they are going to do when they come back on to the streets? Yet the level of debate rarely rises above “should we give to beggars or not?”

There is an industry worth hundreds of millions of pounds, made up of charities and public bodies that is very keen for you to give money to them and not the people in need. It’s a thriving sector employing some very well-paid people, and it has an agenda – using its ingenuity and creativity to sustain itself. Meanwhile, there’s a guy on the street who has no home who you just walked past.

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Source: The Guardian