With so much in the media about begging, and homelessness, it’s hard to tell the fact from fiction.
Here we shed the light on some of the most common misconceptions.
MYTH - All people who beg in Southend are homeless.
TRUTH - Begging and rough sleeping are two very different things.
Although a proportion of people begging are not rough sleepers and do not necessarily need help with housing, many of them are also vulnerable and need to be supported with their complex issues.
However, aggressive begging and anti-social behaviour is not acceptable and needs to be deterred.
MYTH - There is no help for homeless people in Southend.
TRUTH - There are lots of places that homeless people can go for help.
Please see our About Us pages for more information. However, sometimes homeless people will reject the help that they are offered or are evicted from shelters due to violence or drug misuse for example. Even in these cases, help will still be available where the person is willing to address their addictions or behavioural issues.
MYTH - The Council could open up vacant buildings to house rough sleepers.
TRUTH - Rough sleeping is not just a housing issue.
While it may seem like the simplest solution, there is a lot more to helping people than putting a roof over their head. People who sleep rough often have many issues including physical and mental health issues, addictions and offending histories.
These people need longer term, professional support to address all these issues together to help them off the streets for good. In addition to this, the council do not own any empty High Street properties.
MYTH - Giving money to beggars is the best way to help them.
TRUTH - Giving someone spare change only enables and even encourages life on the streets. Make a change to how you give.
It’s understandable why many people choose to help in this way, but giving money may well support a drug or alcohol addiction, which can cause serious health issues and premature death.
These problems require specialist treatment and support, which are provided by the organisations on our Donate page, which is why we recommend giving money directly to these organisations so that your generosity can have the most positive impact.
Handing money over to someone may also divert them from engaging in support and prolong them living on the streets.