Should We Ban Begging

Why are local governments trying to ban begging?

Imagine this. You are walking along a street in a busy part of town with only 20 minutes on the clock until you need to show up back at your work desk with something to eat. You are rushing along the pavement trying to find your favourite deli shop, you can’t get there in time so you make a compromise and head into a local supermarket. Just before you head into the entrance, you see a dishevelled man with a poorly fed door sitting next to the door to get in. He has a handwritten sign made from scavenged cardboard saying:

“Need to raise £35 for a hot shower and a bed for tonight, I don’t do drugs and I want to get my life back together”.

You really feel for the man and decide to buy an extra sandwich (since you are already buying one for yourself) and then donate it to man outside.

Ask any city goer and they will tell you that this is a normal part of urban life. But, is there a reason to suspect that it is wrong to help those begging for food or money?

The following questions arise from such a situation:

  1. Is he really homeless?
  2. The government offers free weekly payments, why can’t he get them?
  3. Where is his family?
  4. Is he really not taking drugs?
  5. Is he the responsibility of the public?

Video: What people think of banning begging

The following video was created by RNZ TV channel for New Zealand.

Pre-teach vocab

  1. Schizophrenia (Noun, a type of mental disorder)
  2. Ignored (Verb, when someone or something is not noticed)
  3. Politician (Noun, a job, someone who is in government)
  4. Mayor (Noun, Leader of a city, government job)
  5. Banned (Noun, when something cannot be done anymore)
  6. Prospects (Noun, future actions or hope)


Task: Try to guess the answers to these questions and then watch the video to check if you guessed correctly

  1. What did the first interviewee say he needed to have?
  2. What does the Mayor want to happen in the city?
  3. What does the homeless interviewee say they really need?
  4. Are they going to build a centre to help people?
Answers 1. A good attitude instead of a bad attitude   2. To ban begging   3. To help people develop and grow     4. False, it is what the homeless interviewee hopes


Final thoughts

There does seem to be increasing hostility towards the homeless and those begging in many western nations. For instance in my hometown of London, UK, there are attempts by the local council to have street furniture to have devices to prevent people some sleeping on them. They often use spikes on the ground or try to separate benches so that it is only possible to sit on them. If you want to volunteer then you can sign up at the Streets of London Charity.

Is it right to have these placed around our cities? Should we ignore the homeless? What are you thoughts, comment below!

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