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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

This is a tricky forum post for me... I am a compassionate person (or at least I'd like to think so) but I do not want to have to encounter this supposedly homeless petson's little encampment on my journey to and from work every day. I suspect they are what I describe as "professional beggars". The little tin with a teddy and loose change are presumably there to encourage "donations" even when they are not physically there. I reported my concerns to the Council and whereas when I reported dumped rubbish or other routine issues, I got an almost instant acknowledgement I've yet to hear anything back from them. As far as I'm concerned, the Council should be putting him in appropriate temporary accommodation or, if he is indeed a professional beggar, moving him on.

Tags for Forum Posts: homelessness

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I have a patient who comes to see me for dressings on terrible ulcers on his legs, and is what you call a professional beggar

professional in that he makes his life as a beggar, doesnt want to stay in accomodation- as many dont due to a variety of reasons. gets very cross if anyone suggests he has mental health problems, just doesnt want anyone to know his buisness. he is as scrawny and dirty as they go, and is a lovely man. He relies on church hand outs, so if it is closed he is stuck- how he manages in all the rain and cold, no idea. But it is his chosen way of life for now

I feel very sad that its like this, but I hope where ever he is settled, that people leave him a lone, its what he has chosen for now, and although it maybe upsetting for people to see, maybe its about sending him lovve instead

They say dont give money to beggars so I generally buy them food if they want- but to be honest, if they want money to spend on booze to help them through, so be it

There was someone sleeping in the passage way xmas day last year, with police outside trying to move him, as people kept complaining about him being there. The police said he had a home to go back to- well something must be badly wrong, if someone wants to sleep out in the freezing cold. 

The ones with ulcers/open sores, I often wonder if they keep them like that to garner sympathy, and that perhaps giving them money is just perpetuating the situation.

Whether homelessness is a choice or not, as a lifestyle it is a very unhealthy one and I think we owe it to homeless people to help them break their unhealthy habits - the question (and I don't know the answer) is how?  

Yeah, I know. They've probably all really got jobs in the city and are just pretending to have ulcers to blag a bit of extra cash for a piss-up at the weekend, right?


The issue is not to question who are the real beggars and who aren't, nor is it taking the moral high ground over people merely reporting their observations, the question is: how as a community do we deal with/what do we do about what seems to be a growing problem in our area?

To be absolutely clear:

1. I don't think homelessness is a lifestyle choice

2. I think it is a dangerous, unhealthy lifestyle

3. I don't think giving money helps people to break the cycle of homelessness

4. We have all noticed there is a growing problem - and I want to know what to do about it that can really help

The suggestion of donating to St Mungo's is a good one I think.  For the past year I have been donating money, furniture and clothing to Shelter, another homelessness charity (the furniture and clothing to the Wood Green shop).  They do a lot of good campaigning work in particular as well as providing homelessness advice.  After the Budget I used the BBC's calculator to work out how much better off I would be and I set up a monthly payment to give that money to Shelter. I am also running the Royal Parks half marathon for them.  If anyone wants to donate to Shelter my fundraising page is here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundr....  If you have any furniture to donate they'll come and pick it up from you too.

St Mungo's provide more direct assistance including hostel accommodation.    Their how you can help page is here: http://www.mungosbroadway.org.uk/how_you_can_help

I'm going to have a good read of it later.

Well good for you, St Mungos are great. I calculated how much worse off I would be and had to cancel all my direct debits to charities.

"I don't think giving money helps people to break the cycle of homelessness" <- giving them a home works but... the government, run by our employers, seem to want us to have to work hard for that.

Can I just say that if you're homeless you get bugger all opportunities to rest/sleep which makes you ill, you don't eat properly which makes you ill, you are dirty and filthy all the time which makes you depressed which makes you ill, you are unemployable so you're stuck in this hole that you can't get out of by yourself. Thoughts that go through your head, other than where will I eat/sleep can include "where can I go to the toilet?".

A step up from this absolutely rock bottom situation this man finds himself in (poverty is offensive I agree but he's not the one we should be angry at) is the many men who seem to spend their lives in a car locally. Between "being able to afford rent" and "having nothing" is "being able to run a cheap car". They seem to have enough to eat and somewhere to sleep but if you've ever found human faeces in your front yard, this is my guess as to where it comes from.

For what it's worth, the men's toilets at the British Library are amazing, possibly because not many men know this though.

Absolute rubbish. And what to you mean by "sending them home"? Also, Camden has historically been an area that attracts characters and at least the Hare Krishna van is providing vulnerable people a hot meal. Using language like crackdown is really showing compassion.

"Crackdown" was used earlier in the thread in relation to Hackney so it stuck in my head, it wasn't the word I wanted but I couldn't immediately think of another one.  The meals look nutritious and tasty, I just wish the leftovers and paper plates would go in one of the many bins, and the oranges weren't used for throwing practice.

By "sending them home" I mean that if someone does not have recourse to public funds the only options I could think of were a) they are illegal or b) they are here on a work visa but can't find work.  If they have no recourse to public funds this is not their home - unless there is another situation I haven't thought of?

I have a visa that entitles me to stay here provided I do not make recourse to public funds for myself or my dependents. Unless I return home before I am 55 I will not be entitled to public funds there either.

If you are a European citizen then you are entitled to public funds if you can't find work but you probably came here for work in the first place and who wants to return home to be a failure there?

Sending them 'home' = deportation/forced removal (maybe to unsafe situations) - just to be clear what we are talking about. Let us not be hasty to judge why people who we know little or nothing about are scraping a miserable existence on our streets but it is reasonable to assume that our government's policies, national and international, has contributed substantially to their situation.

I was thinking more along the lines of voluntary return: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assisted-voluntary-retur...

If the situation is unsafe then an asylum claim would be more appropriate.

That's how I feel too. I was asked for money on 8 occasions yesterday. How can you possibly say "yes" each and every time? I'd end up losing my own home if I did. I no longer smoke in the street where I work in Ilford because I am unable to do so without being accosted for cogarettes. I want to go about my own business without interference.



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