Anti-Begging Campaign Demonises Most Vulnerable

PANews BT_P-b5a9b383-6383-42b7-a01f-a773936e5b92_I1An anti-begging campaign launched on the 20th June under the moniker of ‘Begging for Change’ has been met with outrage. The campaign – supported by several charities and state agencies – aims to discourage people from engaging in one of the most basic acts of compassion.
Billboards and posters emerged across Belfast urging people not to give to people begging on the street, but to ‘responsibly’ donate to charities instead. It states that giving to people on the street can feed addiction. Of course, services to provide support for those with addiction problems – such as the now defunct FASA on the Shankill Road – are being cut to the bone thanks to Stormont austerity. This campaign – perhaps unwittingly – feeds into the demonization of beggars and homeless people and into the Victorian narrative of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor.

It is disgraceful that this campaign is being supported by the Housing Executive, the very body which is meant to be helping people get off the streets and into permanent housing. Decades of sell-off and underinvestment have created a housing crisis, with over 40,000 families on the housing waiting list.

Rather than attacking some of the most vulnerable people in our society, state agencies should be investing in social housing, as well as treatment and support services for those with mental health issues and those struggling with addiction. Unfortunately, this flies in the face of the neo-liberal austerity agenda of the Stormont Executive.

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

North, South, Across the Globe - Step Up the Fight4Equality! Solidarity against homophobia & transphobia!

Next Article

 Dealing With the Past – Only workers’ movement can deliver truth and justice

Related Posts
Read More

Review: Belfast directed by Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh's biopic, Belfast, released in January 2022 to much applause. But for many Belfast natives, it fell flat. The film opens like an on-screen city break brochure, with all the modern visual icons, before fading to black and white and scenes of a typical Belfast street in 1969. Here we are introduced to a nine year-old Kenneth Branagh, "Buddy", as he naively navigates Belfast at the outbreak of the 30-year conflict which became known as "the Troubles".

Bloody Sunday: forty years on

Forty years ago, on Sunday 30 January 1972, members of the Parachute Regiment (the Paras) shot 27 unarmed civilians, (14 of whom died) on a protest through the barricaded Bogside area of Derry. Eight of those killed were aged under 22. Six of them were 17 year olds.