Crawley people warned giving money directly to rough sleepers can ‘feed harmful addictions’

An information day is being held where people can learn how to help Crawley’s homeless.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 1:09 pm

Crawley Borough Council and Crawley Open House are hosting the event in Queens Square on Wednesday (June 5) from 10am to 2pm.

A council spokesman said: “The session aims to offer residents and visitors the opportunity to find out more about what the council and local services do to help rough sleepers, as well as finding out how they can support them.

“The council is aware of the generosity of local residents, many of whom give directly to rough sleepers and beggars.

Crawley Open House, Riverside House, Stephenson Way, Three Bridges

“However, begging is illegal and in some cases, the money is used to feed harmful addictions.

“Instead, the council wants to encourage people to channel their generosity through diverted giving and encourage rough sleepers to take up offers of help.”

Diverted giving is the act of making donations of money, food, clothing and other items to local charities, such as Crawley Open House.

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Councillor Brenda Smith, Cabinet member for Public Protection and Community Engagement, said: “Homelessness is a complex issue that can impact both the person sleeping rough and the wider community, particularly around the perception of safety.

“Giving directly to beggars and rough sleepers doesn’t offer a permanent solution to homelessness; instead, diverted giving means you’ll be supporting charities that help those most in need.

“This information day is a great way to inform people about the level of help available locally and how they can give responsibly. I’d encourage residents and visitors to come along and find out more.”

Crawley Open House provides temporary accommodation, healthcare, financial advice and employment support to people sleeping rough, with the aim of helping them to get back on their feet.

Charlie Arratoon, director at Crawley Open House, said: “We provide support services for those suffering the effects of homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, discrimination or other forms of social exclusion. Our support service is available to anyone in need. Come along and talk to us about how you can help.”