WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

They may not be homeless but still need help

28 February, 2019

‘If people want to be helped to leave the streets then there are many great charities that will help them’

• THANK you for printing Esther Menell’s response to my February 14 letter regarding rough sleeping, (Helping rough sleepers is a matter of urgency, February 21).

My letter (We have a choice how we react to people who are sleeping rough) may have bothered Ms Menell, but her “more savvy friend” clearly thought that there was merit in my view.

I applaud Ms Mennell’s response to give to street charities rather than to street people. However when faced with someone who appears to be in desperate need it is difficult to feel good about saying “I have helped you by giving money to Crisis”.

And we also need to be aware that not everyone who seems homeless actually is. In the West End probably two out of three are not truly homeless. Yet they may still need help.

There are things we can do to help when we come across someone who appears to be homeless. One is to make sure that the Safer Streets team knows about them by using the Camden Streetsafe App. If you are not in Camden then the Streetlink app does the same thing.

Another is to direct them to www.nextmeal.co.uk which is a fantastic resource and will tell them where they can get a free meal nearby. You can also just have a conversation with them, which is usually appreciated.

But be wary of the tall tales which will be used to get you to part with cash. If people want to be helped to leave the streets then there are many great charities that will help them. The best thing we can do is give those charities our support.

DAVID KANER
Mercer Street, WC2

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