Cllr Ashley Yeates

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A Lichfield councillor says a new strategy to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping will help prevent a street begging “turf war”.

The Cabinet at Lichfield District Council approved the Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2019-2024 at a meeting earlier this week.

Among the items covered by the document is a proposal to discourage people from giving to people begging in the city centre.

The local authority says a “diverted giving scheme” would be pursued to ensure money people wanted to donate would go to the right people.

Cllr Ashley Yeates, cabinet member for communities and housing, told the meeting:

“There seem to be two types of street beggars.

“There’s those that are doing it and it’s a business where they can earn a lot of cash – they are coming in from across the border and into the city and earning money.

“There are turf wars, would you believe, for certain places to beg.

“Then there are those with complex needs and paying for habits that they have got. We are trying to work with them and we are helping some of them.

“We want to let the public know that every time they are giving they aren’t actually helping the situation.”

Cllr Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council

“The risk that it goes straight on drugs or alcohol

Angela Lax

Cabinet colleague Cllr Angela Lax backed the plan to move residents away from giving money directly to street beggars.

“I very much support this, because it’s making sure the money people want to give to help the homeless is effectively used, rather than the risk that if it just gets thrown into a begging bowl that it goes straight on drugs or alcohol.

“If you want to give make sure you channel it in the right place.”

Cllr Angela Lax, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Yeates said a marketing campaign would look to highlight the best ways for people to support rough sleepers and homeless people.

“If residents give to a fund we are looking to create, because we know the charities and community organisations that can and will help these people, we will be able to distribute the money to the best places.

“That then means the money is being used for good rather than being used for a habit or a criminal gang, which is what we’re finding. “

Cllr Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council

The new strategy can be downloaded from the council’s website.

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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5 Comments

  1. Look at those removing taxpayers money like the £m wasted on Friarsgate if you want to see something that ‘beggars’ belief and mars the streets of Lichfield.

  2. May I respectfully suggest one of the first ways the residents of Lichfield might raise funds for the homeless is to encourage Cllr Yates to have a sponsored haircut?
    Or maybe he is attempting to show sympathy with the homeless with his choice of hairstyle?
    Either way, I think the Council should do more to ensure homeless people have access to suitable accommodation, along with whatever support they need.
    That way we would have no reason to have homeless people on the street seeking help.

  3. Infuriates me that one of them at least does have a home & spends money on drink & drugs & people just keep giving him money. Takes it away from those that actually do need it too. Is there nothing that can be done if it proven they are fake homeless ( scammers) not genuine homeless that need support of what ever sort & have no where else to go ? As for the councillors hair , I really don’t see that’s relevant & if it was you could at least get his name right Barry.

  4. I would like to get a Councillor down to the trent Valley Road entrance to the tip and also discuss how much it is costing us to have this so called system in place by the contractor
    I am a resident and it is beyond a farce how this so called traffic management has been put in place! Not only can I not get home, now when I leave I cannot turn right, I’ve lived here 12 years but don’t think I can take much more

    Get a grip, the road needs to be used as normal

    I’d be very happy to hear the explanation of the system. That person needs a medal.

  5. We were assured at the start of the pandemic that Lichfields homeless had all been rehomed. If that’s the case why are they resurfacing?If they choose to continue begging the police should have the power to move them on.Enough is enough.

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