Northampton Hope Centre denounces Facebook page posting 'insulting, demeaning and degrading' photos of homeless people
A Facebook page is being condemned as "insulting, demeaning and degrading to people with complex needs" by the Northampton Hope Centre because it posts photos of men and women on a street corner, seemingly intoxicated and homeless.
The Hope Centre, situated on Ash Street close to where the subjects in the photos are seen, works to relieve poverty and tackle the causes of homelessness in Northampton.The collection of images, on the Ash Street Wildlife page, which date back as late as 2015, have both amused or irritated Facebook users.Some of the visitors to the page have called for it to be taken down, while others have encouraged the photographer to continue posting.
Chief executive of the Hope Centre, Robin Burgess, said: "We have reported this page to Facebook and asked them to remove it, but so far they have declined to do so. We are encouraging our friends and supporters to also report it to Facebook, and to complain to those who host the page.
"Some of the people in the photos are our clients, but not all – and some have seen it and asked us to do something, especially given the labels attached to images of them – one labels one person, with no evidence, as a paedophile.
"Our clients live in poverty and often face homelessness, and many have support needs which can include mental health issues, and drug or alcohol addictions. What they need is our support, not to be ridiculed in this way, which only serves to make their lives more difficult and to make them feel even more isolated.
"This site only helps to reinforce a common misconception which is that people end up on the streets because they have a drug or alcohol problem, when in fact often this is their coping mechanism for being on the streets.
"To treat any other client group like this would be an outrage, and anyone with any compassion for those at the sharp end of addiction and homelessness must surely share our views, and want to see this site taken down."The Northampton Hope Centre took to Facebook to express their dislike of the page in a post that read: “Please continue to tell people who run the ‘Ash Street Wildlife’ Facebook page is insulting, demeaning and degrading to people with complex needs. They seem to think that free speech trumps all; it does not.”