Manchester City Council

Peak Begging Season

The Council’s Executive met yesterday opening with a fairly detailed report on what the City Council and its voluntary sector and other public sector partners have been doing to tackle homelessness since the Homelessness Partnership was established in 2015.

A lot of attention tends to focus on the very visible rough sleeping but the homelessness crisis is much bigger than that, and despite our best efforts it’s getting worse. The role out of Universal Credit alone is pushing thousands into debt and increasing evictions. The City Council is currently providing over a thousand temporary homes for over 800 families and a large number of single people.
 
The first job is to do more to prevent homelessness in the first place and the Council has invested in more staff to help do this. The second is to try and make any period of homelessness as short as possible. The proposed investment in a new residential and support facility in Chorlton is an example of this. The third is to get people on the street off it. Evidence suggests that rough sleepers get institutionalised very quickly and the longer they are on the street the harder it is to get them off it. The sort of provision being made by Coffee4Craig and Centrepoint is an example of the Partnership ensuring there is no need for people to be on our streets.
 
Which brings me to the issue of begging. As Christmas approaches the number of beggars on our streets will increase, ready to prey on the kindness and generosity of Manchester people. Many of them will be neither homeless nor rough sleepers though many of them will be. Of the homeless and rough sleepers many will have mental health and/or addiction problems for which they need help - help they can only get if we can get them off the street. 
 
Giving to people on the street, money, food, clothes, just helps keep them there. Most of the money given just ends up in drugs or alcohol. That kindness, compassion and generosity is really appreciated but if you want to help through giving, do it to the Big Change campaign and help our voluntary sector partners help people into a better life.
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There are 5 responses to “ Peak Begging Season”

  1. Niall Love Says:

    Nothing wrong with giving to the homeless.
    Yes they may spend on drugs etc but this is to take away from the reality of tne situation they are in.
    Or they may buy food .
    Its their choice on what tbey spend their money on.
    Giving to the charities only helps the CEO have a bigger pay packet FIRST then it filters down the chain.
    So do you dare dictate what people do with their money.

  2. Anon Says:

    A controversial post but sensible in my opinion. Giving money directly to people on the street, rather than indirectly, only makes the problem worse.

  3. Alex Young Says:

    So basically, if we give to beggars it will only encourage them? The council will eventually have places for them to go if they haven't died in the meantime, but if we give them money (which they might spend on self medicating the way any of us would) then they'll say 'nah, thanks but I'm on to a cushy number here'?

    We are being specifically told not to give clothes and food to people who are cold and hungry even though there is nowhere else for them to turn to. Cruel and shameful.

  4. Iain D Urquhart Says:

    You could employ the lady opposite the Royal Exchange Theatre. She is picking up the litter, mentoring other homeless folk, policing disputes and basically doing the job of a street warden and providing passive security. Solving homelessness is going to involve a brave attitude to drugs and the treatment of that. Investement in the not so fortunate people of manchester and give them some hope would be great too. And knock down those old tiny crappy houses and build some decent new stuff.

  5. Mark Horacek Says:

    Giving money to someone hopeless addicted to drugs or alcohol keeps them firmly in that cycle. It's more fuel to the flames. The person giving money does it to feel good about themselves without thinking of the consequences to another. These people need help not more drugs in a spiral of misery. If you really want to help, don't be lazy with your token throw away quid. Volunter, help them.

 

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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