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Southend charities require ’empathy’ as PM reveals ‘problem’ beggar crackdown


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Government Homeless Plans ≪I≫(Image: Newsquest)≪/I≫

Government homeless strategies (Image: Newsquest)

CHARITIES have actually required “compassion and kindness” as the federal government proposes a crackdown on “nuisance” beggars.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has actually set out his objective to present brand-new powers to forbid asking “where it is causing a public nuisance” with examples provided consisting of by a cashpoint, in a shop entrance or on public transportation.

It likewise recommends brand-new powers for the authorities and regional authorities might be generated in relation to rough sleeping “and other street activity where it is causing a public nuisance, such as by obstruction of doorways and pavements, and to clear the debris, tents and paraphernalia that can blight an area”.

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“People begging on our streets need compassion and kindness, not punishment,” Vanessa Hemmings, president of Harp, Southend’s homeless charity, said.

“We’re pleased that the government has recognised the need to support people, but homelessness and poverty are complex issues – not everyone who is homeless resorts to begging, and not everyone who begs is homeless.

“We would encourage members of the public to provide a friendly face and an understanding ear to anyone seen sleeping out or begging, and to signpost them to services like Harp who are able to help with food and accommodation.”

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The federal government says “those genuinely homeless and with complex needs” would be “directed to appropriate support”.

Southend Labour councillor Matt Dent said: “We should not be looking to persecute people out of homelessness.

“I understand some of the points around anti-social behaviour, but there are already laws to deal with that, setting out specifically to introduce laws criminalising some of the most vulnerable people in our society seems unnecessarily cruel.”

The Kursaal ward councillor included: “Here in Southend we have a long history of working with charities and organisations to help those who are homeless, and we will continue to do so.”

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Part of the federal government strategy likewise consists of making it an offense for criminal gangs to arrange asking networks to make them additional money.

The department said the networks are “often used to facilitate illegal activities”.

A representative for homeless charity Southend Street Angels said: “Where is the love? Telling our houseless neighbours they don’t matter is not okay.

“Every day they are literally in survival mode. Using unconventional coping mechanisms and stereotyped by stigmas.

“Homeless lives matter just as much as anyone else’s.”

On dealing with homelessness, ministers said they stayed “committed” to rescinding the “antiquated” Vagrancy Act which was passed in the early 19th century.

The legislation made it a crime to sleep rough or ask in England and Wales.

Ministers have actually said no one needs to be criminalised for not having someplace to live.

The UK Government sought advice from in 2015 on how to change the Act.

A Harp spokesperson included: “If you know of someone sleeping rough, make sure to raise an alert with Street Link, so that our outreach team can make contact and begin building trust to help start the journey away from the streets for good.”

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