Preventing Homelessness in Reading

Begging

Begging and rough sleeping aren’t necessarily the same. The majority of people in Reading who beg aren’t homeless. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need help. In most cases they do.

If you’ve been rough sleeping on the streets all night, it’s unlikely you’ll stay out on the streets all day too. You’ll often be trying to keep warm and staying inside somewhere where possible during the day.

Those begging and drinking on the streets but who have somewhere to stay may need a different type of support from local services.

There is a lot of support and food provided in the town for the street homeless from St Mungo’s, CIRDIC, Faith and Launchpad. There are over 200 bed spaces for single homeless people and there is a Pathway to help vulnerable people restart their life.

Please don’t give money to those begging in the town, we encourage you to support charities in Reading that provide appropriate professional support dependant on a person’s individual needs.

Money given to those begging in the town is highly likely to be used to fund an addiction to Class A drugs such as heroin. Launchpad clients who used to beg, tell us this is what they would spend money on.

Begging

 

What constitutes rough sleeping?

Not everybody sitting in a shop doorway begging is sleeping rough. For this reason a clear definition has been agreed on who does and who does not count as a rough sleeper:

People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down, in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation.

In Reading, St Mungo’s work with the street homeless. Their Outreach Team monitors Reading in the early morning to find people who are sleeping rough. They find people sleeping rough for the first time and others with a history of rough sleeping and complicated problems that make it difficult to move off the streets. We’ve been out with the Outreach Team to the outskirts of Reading, miles from the centre of town, scouring woodland for those genuinely sleeping rough.

St Mungo’s gradually build up trusting relationships to encourage those sleeping rough into accommodation and into getting help for the problems preventing them getting their lives back on track. But Outreach workers can’t force people to get help; they must want to help themselves.

Find out more about St Mungo’s Outreach service in Reading here >

What you can do to help

If you are concerned for someone you think is sleeping rough, let StreetLink know, they will help connect that person to the most appropriate support.

There is no need to approach someone you don’t know to ask them about their situation. This is the job of local services and many people sleeping rough have deep-rooted issues that require professional help. All you need to do is contact StreetLink and give them details about the person sleeping rough.

Some people have a history of rough sleeping, are known to local services and may require longer-term support to help them leave the streets. You can still use StreetLink. Their situation may mean that you don’t see a change straight away, as people need to want to get off the streets and unfortunately not everyone does.

Some people appear to be sleeping rough and may be involved in drinking or begging on the street, but do have somewhere to stay. If you’ve been sleeping on the street all night, legitimate rough sleepers are often trying to keep warm by staying inside where possible during the day, not on the streets begging. Those begging and drinking but who have somewhere to stay may need a different type of support from local services, and this may mean that you do not see a change straight away. This doesn’t mean your alert to StreetLink is wasted. It’s always better to get in touch about someone you think may be rough sleeping, so that local services can provide support if needed.

We need your help

Rather than giving money directly to rough sleepers or beggars, we encourage you to support charities in Reading that can provide the best and most appropriate professional support depending on a person’s individual needs.

Donate to Launchpad

You can support Launchpad and our work in the town. Find out how to make a monthly or one-off donation online or by cheque. Or text-donate now via Just Text Giving. Simply text LPAD01 £10 to 70070

Charities we also work with in Reading include: