South Yorkshire Housing Association calls for 'more efforts' to reduce begging on Sheffield streets

More efforts need to be put in place in order to reduce begging on Sheffield streets ahead of Christmas, said South Yorkshire Housing Association.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 4:43 pm

This came in the wake of dispersal orders issued by the police in a bid to reduce begging on Sheffield streets ahead of the festive season.

The housing association said rather than potentially criminalising people who beg, they should work with them to offer long-term supported and affordable housing solutions so the cycle of homelessness could be broken.

On Tuesday, Neighbourhood police officers and City Centre Ambassadors took to the streets of Sheffield to speak to groups and individuals believed to be involved in begging.

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Dispersal orders have been issued in a bid to reduce begging in Sheffield city centre.

Sergeant Jon Simpson was reported as saying that the issue of begging and problems linked to so-called street culture becomes particularly prevalent at this time of year, when there's an increase in people in the city centre.

They said they have issued four dispersal notices to individuals believed to be involved in begging and two people received community protection notices.

They have also spoken to a number of people about what the support they may be able to access in relation to their health and housing needs.

But SYHA said rather than potentially criminalising people who beg, they should work with them to offer long-term supported and affordable housing solutions to break the cycle of homelessness.

A beggar at the train station.

"We know from our customers that having a stable, affordable, and good quality home is the foundation of well-being.

"Many of our customers who have experienced homelessness talk of their unsettling

experiences of having to move from home to home on multiple occasions due to insecure tenure, and the challenges of affordability in the private rented sector.

"A significant increase in affordable housing is just one of the solutions to tackle homelessness, that’s why we’re delighted to have signed up to the Homes for Cathy commitments," said SYHA in a statement.

They said the role of prevention work undertaken by the third sector should also not be underestimated and is at significant risk.

"We’re seeing cuts to these services year on year, and the overwhelming erosion of

funding for prevention work, such as the former Supporting People grant, is a significant concern to Housing Associations.

"Losing this important function will undoubtedly lead to a surge in homelessness if not addressed."As a strengths-based organisation we believe that everyone having a place they can happily call home, within a community where those who are able to work have access to quality and meaningful roles, will result in a safer Sheffield for all – at Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year."