This small feature appeared in the Metro this morning.
I’m not sure it was published to applaud or complain about this new initiative.
The idea is to get the homeless to collect rubbish once a month for 90 minutes with the reward being vouchers to spend in McDonalds doesn’t seem quite right.
A number of questions sprang to my mind on reading this.
- Were homeless people and the outreach charities supporting them consulted to understand what they wanted as a reward?
- Why homeless people? What about excluded youth, isolated single parents? How did the Councils agree on Homeless. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong to focus on this group, just how was the decision made.
- Instead of fast food, why not a healthy nutritious sit down meal with other members of the community to feel a true part not an outsider?
- Were the options looked at to offer showers and clean, dry clothes instead of a ‘happy meal’?
- How do you ensure the people you are helping are truly homeless? A lot of people in London aren’t and/or run by gangs. We are actively told not to give money to ‘homeless’ people but to call the outreach charities who ensure no on sleeps more than one night outside unless they want to.
- How often are the vouchers issued? Doesn’t seem much reward if it’s just once a month after 90 minutes litter picking. You can still get a Happy Meal for 99p, I believe – well below the minimum wage!
Much more impressive would have been some inclusivity to invite/encourage the homeless to rejoin society. This initiative, on the face of what’s reported, seems to focus on an isolated, vulnerable group and keep them there……………