Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Boris slammed by homelessness charity

November 01 2010
Jeremy Swain slaps the mayor‘s wrist

A leading homelessness charity has criticised Boris Johnson, mayor of London, for giving money to a man begging in Leicester Square last month.

Since 2003, charity Thames Reach has been warning the public that giving change to beggars often helps to fuel drug or alcohol addiction. Its chief executive, Jeremy Swain, warns that "money contributed by caring members of the public to people begging is, invariably, spent on heroin and crack cocaine, causing ill health, misery and sometimes death." Responding to the mayor's well-meaning gesture, Mr Swain sarcastically blogged that Boris might as well "give money straight to his local drug dealer and cut out the middle wo/man."

While Thames Reach has applauded the mayor's commitment to end rough sleeping in the capital by 2012, the charity remains adamant about its begging policy. The message is clear: give to homelessness charities rather than to people begging on the streets.