In addition to this honest and very accurate article there is a policy certainly in York and most probably in other major cities, which the general public are probably not aware of.
I'll use information which we know to be factual.
Recently one of the organizations we support reported that on Wednesday this week they couldn't find any of the rough sleepers they wanted to offer free food and drinks to. This was simply because the Night Marshalls and Police had forced them all out of the city centre. Ahead of the last few hectic Christmas shopping days nobody wants to see homeless people in doorways, right? Not right! Yes York has a great deal of economic investment from tourists and visitors. But forcing the homeless out of the city for aesthetic reasons is certainly not solving the problem.
We also know that this happened in the autumn ahead of the food festival. Again there is no justification for this and it certainly does nothing to address the problem.
These are humans, peoples family members. You can't treat them as dirt and sweep them under the carpet.
Nobody we met during our crisis had made themselves “Intentionally Homeless”. This is an insidious phrase which was used against us. Fortunately for us we were able to defend ourselves again the decision and win the appeal. But not everybody in that situation has the mental ability to fight the system. So the perception that the homeless have in some way brought it upon themselves and should just accept the help offered and move into a hostel etc. is nothing more than propaganda. The truth is that there is no safety net for many of them and once they are in that situation it is nothing but a road to early death.
So yes if you wish to give cash, please do so. But also lobbying your local MP to stop city wide exclusions to hide a real human crisis would be more than useful.