‘Help homeless by donating to charities’

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Cllr Hont has said giving money to charities is more beneficial to tackling the city's homeless problem © The Whitechapel Centre

Cllr Hont said giving money to charities is more beneficial to tackling the city’s homeless problem © The Whitechapel Centre

Locals are being advised to donate to charities instead of giving money directly to homeless people on the streets.

Liverpool Councillor Frank Hont said that in order to help the city’s homeless population, the best way to change their situation is by donating directly to charities who can help them get off the streets and offer assistance and support to rough sleepers on a long-term basis.

This advice comes after Liverpool Council worked in partnership with The Whitechapel Centre and The Liverpool BID Company to launch a new campaign to tackle homelessness.

The ‘Change£?’ campaign aims to tackle the common misconception that everyone begging or sleeping rough is homeless, or that people have to sleep outdoors.

Speaking to JMU Journalism, Ruth McCaughley, fundraising manager for The Whitechapel Centre, said: “People can help by supporting us in different ways, either fundraising or making a donation, or donating food, toiletries or clothing which goes out directly to service users.

“The other main way of helping is to call us on No Second Night Out [0300 123 2041], so if someone sees somebody sleeping rough they can call our outreach team and let us know where they are.”

As for whether people should keep giving cash to homeless people or beggars, Ruth feels it is up to the public to decide what they do with their money. She added: “It’s a choice for people to make, we’re not telling people what they should do with their money at all. We’re an organisation that helps people long-term, we want to change people’s situations and we want people to come off the streets.”

Whilst giving money to people on the streets may not necessarily be a bad thing, the advice of Cllr Hont appears to offer a more long-term solution, as many homeless charities such as The Whitechapel Centre aim to not only provide people with supplies while they are on the streets, but to also help them get off the streets altogether.

At the launch of the ‘Change£?’ campaign, Cllr Hont, the cabinet member for housing, said: “When they see somebody who appears to be in dire straits the inclination of many people is to put their hands in their pockets and give them some money.

“While this is very well-intentioned it is not the best way to help those who are on the streets – supporting those services which can help people turn their lives around and provide lasting support is a much better way to help and this new campaign will encourage people to do that.”

About Emily Curren, JMU Journalism