Don’t give to the homeless, call the hotline – are you serious?

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Whenever I have money I give to people begging in the streets or even not begging (some fellows in Newbury just sit on the side of the street with a blanket over their bodies).

The Independent reported this week:

Giving money or food to a homeless person won’t do them any good, the housing minister has said, as welfare charities launch a “homelessness hotline” billed by the Government as an alternative to hand-outs.

StreetLink is a new national helpline for members of the public concerned about a rough sleeper in their area. Backed by 500 homelessness charities, operators will pass on information about a homeless person’s location and circumstances to support services in their area, which will then offer them targeted help.

Imagine the scene. This Tuesday – one of the coldest nights of the week. I encounter four men in Newbury’s main streets who were standing out in the cold.

Would phoning a hotline do any good in that situation? “Hello? Homeless Hotline? I have just seen four men standing in the street in Newbury.” What the hell are they going to do about it? Send a swot team around at 90 mph in a van to take them away to a luxury hotel?

Anyway, I have reported one of the men, who I had a chat with (and therefore had sufficient info on), to Streetlink’s website.

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