In a recent blog our CEO talked about how people who beg (who may often be in need, but not of a home) can easily be mixed up with people who are rough sleepers.
Here is a story told to us this week by one of our supporters:
“Yesterday my wife and I were approached by a very sad looking man on a retail park asking for £8 for a bed for the night. I asked him if he had approached the Hope Centre and he said you were full so I asked him to explain where he would go. He said a Northampton hostel would provide him with a bed, a meal and some clean clothes. He didn’t look like a drug addict, looked absolutely desperate and the forecast was awful and I gave him the money. Is there a hostel in Northampton that would provide this service or was I hoodwinked? ”
Its very sad that some people, for whatever reason (and some may have specific needs for mental health or other services) seek to exploit the generosity and kindness of the general public by telling tales like this.
It makes people think there are more rough sleepers than there are, and spreads myths about Hope and council services.
If anyone who is genuinely rough sleeping wants it, a bed is available tonight: nothing is ‘full’ – certainly not Hope, and if there is a hostel out there who does provide this service, please get in touch!
We know that a small number of people who beg are rough sleepers. We urge you to respond to anyone who begs with kindness, if not always a donation, because they have needs – just different to those sleeping rough.
If you see someone who is sleeping rough, tell them to come to Hope or to approach the council. If they say they are banned or we are full, politely say, we have read on Hope’s social media, no-one is banned and nothing is full: encourage them to seek help. Over the winter genuine rough sleepers can access a free bed out of the cold, and we help them to get it – this week we have successfully secured accommodation in the council shelter for rough sleepers.