A new campaign is asking kind-hearted residents and visitors in York to text £3 to local homeless charities which can help people off the streets and into safer and more stable lives, and not give cash direct to people who beg on the street.
The Salvation Army, Carecent, Arclight and Lifeline are four charities working with City of York Council, North Yorkshire Police and Make It York to make people aware that if they want to help those suffering hardship, the best way is by giving to the charities which can make a real, long-term difference.
Using the hashtag #NoNeedToBegYork, the campaign will share the message ‘Giving to those who beg won’t help, giving to charity will’ through a year-long campaign. An easy and safe way of giving to local homeless charities is being promoted and people who wish to help are asked to give £3 by texting ‘YORK33£3’ to ‘70070’.
This money will be shared with homeless charities including Carecent and The Salvation Army in York which can offer immediate practical support and longer term support to find a home, maintain a tenancy, training and finding employment, as well as supporting those with mental health or substance misuse issues.
To promote the message, the partnership has been given a stall at St Nicholas Fair in Coppergate by Make It York from 17 – 27 November. Staff from the charities will give out information on the work they do and take donations.
The partner charities confirm that well-meaning people who give their spare change to people who beg on the streets may not realise that this can be counter-productive. Giving direct to people who beg can prolong their situation and discourage them from seeking the right help and support.
They may not realise either that while there are some people in genuine need who beg in York, there are others who travel to the city to beg. These ‘professionals’ boast they can make up to £300 a day by preying on the kindness of York’s residents and visitors which is illegal.
There is about 18 rough sleepers in York at the moment, none of whom need to sleep out because the council and other services offer emergency accommodation to anyone from November to February. As usual at Christmastime, local services continue to provide meals and support for people who experience homelessness, including donated presents to help make the day special.
“Homeless charities and the council’s homeless services are best placed to support vulnerable people. By giving to local charities, you can be sure you will be making a real difference to the lives of those in genuine need.”
Members of the public who are concerned about individuals sleeping rough can ring 0300 500 0194, a national helpline which alerts local agencies to respond.
Donations from the public will be shared between:
- Carecent, a York-based breakfast centre which provides food and clothing, support and advice
- The Salvation Army’s Early Intervention and Prevention Team in York which identifies the needs of vulnerable people on the street immediately, providing services such as accommodation, health assessments and food
- Arc Light, a charity that provides accommodation and support to homeless men and women in York.