People "killing with kindness" are being asked to think twice before giving to homeless people in Northampton.
The annual ‘don’t kill with kindness’ campaign is now in its sixth year in Northampton and once again is focused on informing people that giving money on the street is not the answer. Organisers say studies have shown that the small cash donations that individuals receive often mean that people wait longer before accessing the support services they need.
Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire Police and the Northampton Association for the Accommodation of the Single Homeless (NAASH) are calling for those who want to help to donate to reputable charities instead.
Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “I hate the thought of anyone spending a night sleeping rough, especially at Christmas. I understand that giving money to someone in need can seem like the right thing to do but giving cash to a rough sleeper doesn’t really help, as it usually leads to them spending more time without the support they need. Donating to a registered charity that can offer specialist support is a much better way to help.”
A police spokesperson said: “We are aware this campaign might be controversial and people have a right to spend or give their money in any way they choose, however they need to be aware of the possible consequences of giving money to people on the street.
“By giving money directly to people on the street, you risk encouraging begging in Northampton which has a direct impact on local businesses and those shopping in the town. The money may then be spent on alcohol or drugs which simply add to anti-social behaviour in the area.
“There are many worthwhile charities in Northampton set up to help and support those with a variety of issues which include homelessness, alcohol dependence and drug addiction.
“Any officers on duty will be able to provide anyone found begging with a list of agencies that support people with alcohol, drug or homeless issues.”