In a recent blog our CEO talked about how it is easy to mix up people begging, but who aren’t homeless, with those who are rough sleeping but not begging.
There is another category of people who are sometimes mixed up with those who are rough sleepers. These are street drinkers.
People with complex and significant problems with alcohol sometimes choose to drink on the street, alone sometimes, but often with others, for the social aspects. They can appear to be homeless too, even if in practice they have somewhere to sleep. Sometimes they may pass out and sleep on the street, because they are drunk, and can then appear to be homeless.
Hope responds with compassion and care to street drinkers who seek our help and to have that level of addiction can be a hard place to get out of. We support them to access addiction services through our addiction gateways. Street drinkers need to be helped, not criminalised, and the reasons why people drink are complex.
Some rough sleepers may be seen drinking and may join street drinking groups. But if you see a group of street drinkers, you will often not see them at night. They are not, in the main, rough sleepers. Its easy to mix them up and to believe that the size of the rough sleeping community is greater than it is.