Thames Reach has joined forces with Lambeth Council to launch an advertising campaign educating the public on the links between begging and the use of heroin, crack cocaine and alcohol.
The campaign posters depict the outlined body of a dead person made from the coins thrown to him by the public - with the headline ‘Are you killing with kindness?’.
It is designed to help the public understand that giving money to people who beg fuels the dangerous drug and alcohol addictions destroying lives. In addition, the money they give can end up lining the pockets of drug dealers.
The posters offer up alternative ways for the public to help the homeless by volunteering their time with the Thames Reach charity or by making a donation.
The helpline 0870 383 3300 is promoted so that the public can phone in sightings of people sleeping rough or begging to Thames Reach's Lambeth Street Outreach Response Team (SORT) which will investigate these reports and provide support to the people involved.
The posters went up in Waterloo, Vauxhall, Oval, and Clapham Common tube stations and in and around Waterloo train station.
Jeremy Swain, Thames Reach Chief Executive, said: “Time after time we see people that Thames Reach is seeking to help drawn back to the street to beg, encouraged by the generosity of the public who are unwittingly funding serious drug and alcohol problems that wreck lives and can ultimately result in tragic deaths. It is wonderful that the public is concerned about homelessness but I urge people to support the very effective charities in Lambeth that are collectively striving to turn lives around.”
Cllr Jim Dickson, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “People who give money to beggars do so with the very best of intentions, but in most cases the money they give helps to fund a cycle of dependency and addiction. People feel they are doing the right thing but it’s actually very counterproductive so that’s why we are encouraging people to give to homeless charities instead, either with their time or money. Our Street Outreach Response Team works hard with Thames Reach to get people who are sleeping rough off the streets and into the support and treatment they desperately need.”