That’s the message of some homelessness charities and local councils this festive season anyway.
Posters like the one above are becoming regular features of many town and city centres around the UK and that absolutely sickens me. There was a similar campaign against beggars in Leeds about 11 years ago which asked “Would you give a junkie £1 towards his next fix?”. Completely ignoring the cold hard fact that by no means all people who are homeless have drug or alcohol issues. One wag in Leeds also highlighted another serious flaw in campaigns against street begging when they defaced the signs in Leeds so that they also read “Or have them mug you later in desperation?”
If someone has gotten to the point in their life where they have to ask for money on the street then the ins and outs of how/why they are in that situation should not be of any concern to us. What should be our concern is helping alleviate the situation of our fellow humans. If someone has to ask for money it should be of no concern why they need it just that we are in a position to help them. What they spend their money on is no more your concern than where your local bar man, doctor, or school teacher spend their money.
At the moment we are facing some of the worst attacks on the living conditions of ordinary people that we have seen in decades. Not only is homelessness skyrocketing, there are nearly 100,00 homeless children in the UK, and the government has criminalised squatting in England and Wales. So now homeless people no longer even have the recourse to shelter in abandoned buildings -a right won by those made homeless due to the bombing campaigns in the Second World War. With the ongoing cuts to benefits and the ever increasing number of people who are finding themselves sanctioned by the Department of Work and Pensions (being denied access to benefits for 3-6 months or more for usually minor infractions or mistakes with benefits claims) we can expect to see more and more people driven onto the streets. Driven to desperation.
I’m extremely poor and am massively underemployed, we somehow manage to scrape by month to month, but from now on, when I can afford it, I’m definitely going to give money to beggars. (Not that I don’t already do so, but I’m going to do it more now) I don’t care if they spend the money I give them on soup, special brew, strippers, or smack. It’s none of my god damn business. What is my business however is the scum bags who are carrying out these attacks on us. They wallow in luxury and decadence* and laugh and jeer whilst they strip away everything we have won from them over the last century.
Seriously. How many more people have to be killed by sanctions or take their own lives due to the prejudices and sanctions of the benefits/housing system before there are politicians hanging from lamp posts all over Whitehall?
My kindness couldn’t kill. Their hatred most definitely fucking does. 😡