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Beggars Waterloo/Borough

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Monday 12 January 2009 7.45pm
Well said jonny. I have had the delight of seeing people being taken on the long journey from sleeping rough and existing on Carlsberg export to having their own job and flat.

What I don't get is the lack of imagination of people who seem to think that people sleep rough and get drunk just to annoy us. Sleeping rough the past week would have been awful. But some have done it because they have been so traumatised that they cannot bear the thought of acceding to the minimal rules of a shelter. Sounds nuts to us but is reality to them

I think I am right in saying there is enough overnight accomodation for all rough sleepers. getting them all inside can be a difficult process, and as jonny says it needs cash. The Government prefers to pretend it is a problem that doesn't exist (and the other lot would be no better.)
Wednesday 14 January 2009 3.27pm
Quite shocked from some of the posts last October on this topic - my wife worked for St Mungos at Great Guildford St hostel for a while and talked with one or two homeless people during that time; almost conclusively their situation is the end product of either childhood abuse, mental illness, or they were ex-military.It's a slippery slope and very difficult to climb back up, yet most want to get our of the trap they are in, especially as the trap tends to be heroin or alcohol.

To suggest that begging is a lifestyle choice ("sending messages out to potential beggers"!?!) and unattractive is am aesthetic, lightweight argument to what is a heavyweight problem.

You'll find the majority of them are pleasant, decent people if you took a few minutes out to get to know them; something you couldn't do to the teams of overboozed, overbinged office workers that seem destined to turn this area into something akin to a provincial town on a Saturday night. And they're often more polite too...
Wednesday 14 January 2009 7.03pm
Actually, I don't think there are enough hostels for people, it's not just about people not wanting to use them. I know that quite a lot of hostels have had difficulties coping during the last few weeks due to the high level of demand.

However, I think that as locals we have the right to object to the problems that street drinkers and homeless people bring, as well as drug users (these can be seperate categories or can overlap).

I don't think we should be accused of being heartless, lacking imagination, etc. I don't like the fact that homeless people stand outside the Christian Centre on Webber Street for example, and harrass passers by (in fact sexually harrass female pedestrians, in a very threatening manner), force people to walk into the road to get by them, are noisy, create a terrible mess, and make the little park on Ufford street usable.

Just because we live in Waterloo doesn't mean we should just tolerate the problems that arise. I believe that action needs to be taken to get homeless people off the street, not by driving them to another area, but by helping them.

However, allowing people to cause a major nuisance does not help homeless people and isn't fair to those who live locally. I don't like the gangs of street drinking city people who sit outside pubs either, they also create a nuisance. Unfortunately, in Waterloo we have the incredibly noisy traffic and trains during the day, loud pub drinkers in the evening, them homeless people singing all night, it does get a bit much sometimes.
Wednesday 14 January 2009 10.38pm
The main problem I have with people that moan about ‘the homeless problem' is that apart from removing them they have nothing constructive to offer. Although we have a right to the peaceful enjoyment of where we live, in reality life is not like that.
I have lived in the Waterloo area all my life and have grown up alongside these people and have to say that they have caused me no real problems. Which is more then can be said for city workers who cannot handle their drink.
I find the helicopters far more a problem regarding noise.
Finally, I think we have to accept that some places can only be gentrified so far.
Monday 4 May 2009 8.02am
James Hatts wrote:
If we really must have the discussion about begging again (past threads on this subject have made me very depressed as the subject seems to bring out the worst in people) please could it be in another thread.
[from the thread on Most's outdoor cafe at Tower Bridge].

A few things:

1. The begging at that spot opposite Most seems to have lessened or ceased since the outdoor cafe was opened. We'll see.

2. James, if your depression is due to the incivility of a few posts on this subject, eg:
peterroe wrote:
If you don't like it - clear off! The hostels where these guys live have been here a lot longer than you probably have. There may be a few "down and outs" around (there certainly have been during my 7 and a half years here) but they add more character to the area than boring prats like you.
then you're right of course. But, I suspect that you may also feel that those like me who want the law against begging to be enforced, especially around our national symbols, are uncharitable. Anyway this is a topic on which you've been Delphic but derogatory more than once, so it would be good to know clearly what you're saying. As the Lord Gnome of SE1, your words carry weight.

3. Yesterday I played football on astroturf at Kennington Park, Lambeth. We pay for our pitch, but one of the free pitches was played on by 12 youths. It was an informal pick-up game. The setting is lovely to my eye and the sight of youngsters playing at a decent level on a Sunday afternoon is just gladdening. I looked round to see 6 police telling them to leave. The police were just doing their job, having been called by the Lambeth Council caretaker. There was no tension. I spoke to 2 of the police to say I'd like the boys to be left alone. It's a good thing. It's a publicly owned facility. But they had no latitude. And the obvious moral is....the authorities won't enforce the laws on begging, but will prevent boys playing football on an empty Lambeth pitch.
Monday 4 May 2009 10.16am
markadams99 wrote:
Anyway this is a topic on which you've been Delphic but derogatory
Lest someone take 'derogatory' as derogatory, I'll add ;-] . Is that how you do quizzical?
Tuesday 5 May 2009 3.21pm
boroughpaul wrote:
..[SNIP]..selling the big issue ..[SNIP].. isnt there some kind of code of conduct for these characters??

Yes there is. There is an entry criteria, induction programme and Code of Conduct (see I believe the Big Issue take vendor behaviour very seriously, and have a team to investigate complaints:

To make a comment about a vendor
+44 (0)20 7526 3444
Tuesday 5 May 2009 7.14pm
I raised this issue at the Borough and Bankside council meeting last week and asked if these people can be put into some kind of rehab or given help to change their lives to a more suitable direction. I was told by the police and community wardens that they do not want to be helped! they are regularly scooped up and offered assistance or a night in jail but promptly return. Apparently they get fed and watered and of course the begging supplements whatever compulsion they have.
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