Revd Canon Dr Chrispin Pailing, Change Liverpool Group
Community leaders in Liverpool are hoping a new scheme will help more homeless people to get off the streets.
The Change Liverpool network wants people to donate to an online fund, rather than giving money directly to homeless people on the street.
They say the cash can be used in a more targeted way to help rough sleepers.
The new fund will rely on public donations which will be used to provide grants to those in need of support to get off the street and into new opportunities.
It is estimated the Change Liverpool fund could raise tens of thousands of pounds by changing the cycle of street begging - with people supporting a more pro-active, long term alternative than the short term hit of handing over small change to an individual.
It is part of a wider campaign designed to change public perception and has been established by a new multi-agency support network designed to tackle homelessness. They include key organisations such as:
Liverpool BID Company
Community Foundation for Merseyside
Liverpool Parish Church
Liverpool City Council
The Whitechapel Centre and other professionals who work with homelessness.
The timing of the fund launch follows the recent Government decision to end the Everyone In policy.
Liverpool City Council, which has found homes for more than 1,500 people during the pandemic, has extended the policy until the end of September and is currently prioritising those at risk of homelessness into accommodation.
Carol Hamlett, Director at Transforming Choice, said: “We welcome the Change Liverpool initiative; society has become so desensitized to seeing people on the streets and in doorways, it has become the norm to give money directly to the individual. If 100 people beg for 3 days per week for a year, and receive £100 each day, that adds up to over £1.5m each year.
“We’d like to see this money collected into a fund that could support people with a deposit for a flat and enable them to turn it into a home - money for furniture, clothes or a training course, therapeutic sessions or detox and rehabilitation. Imagine the difference this fund could make to people’s lives. Liverpool has always been a trailblazer, let this city be the first city where rough sleeping and begging is not the norm, a city in which we recognize that people are worth more than a couple of pounds. Support the Change Liverpool initiative, and really make a difference to the lives of homeless people in Liverpool.”