As Derby’s Cathedral Quarter Businesses Prepare To Vote On The Next Stage Of Investment In The City, What Will Happen To Derby’s Rough Sleepers?
Over the past ten years, the Cathedral Quarter has been invested in and last December the Business Improvement District (BID) won an award at the Great British High Street Awards. Following on from this achievement, the plan for 2018-2023 was unveiled in September to continue this improvement. In order for the plans to be put into action, the majority of the area’s businesses need to vote ‘yes’ before November 2nd 2017.
One of the main objectives of Derby’s BID business plan is to improve the experience of those visiting the area. This includes reducing the amount of alcohol- and drug-induced anti-social behaviour, but also reducing the amount of begging and rough-sleeping on Derby’s streets; specifically, in the Cathedral Quarter.
When asked about the main issues that need working on in the area, 76% of the business respondents included ‘street begging and rough sleepers’ as one of the most important aspects needing attention for the continued success of the area. This was the highest percentage of any of the other issues listed.
There are many support groups and charities in the city to support vulnerable people. These groups exist to help people work towards accessing longer-term solutions such as housing, as well as day-to-day needs such as food and warmth or temporary shelter. However, these groups have limited resources, and already cannot support everybody in finding stable accommodation. Such charities may struggle if there is an influx of people in need as they are being removed from the streets and local areas such as parks.
There is already a housing crisis in Britain, with an estimate of over 4,000 people sleeping on Britain’s streets in Autumn 2016. There is a danger that as those who are currently on the streets in the Cathedral Quarter are made increasingly unwelcome they will be forced to move to other, potentially less affluent, areas to sleep and/or beg for money and food. This may lead to food and spare change being harder to access due to there being fewer members of the public around to offer their goodwill.
In addition to this, the public have recently been being urged to not give money to those begging on the streets, and to instead donate to local homeless charities online or via an app, where the funds will then be responsibly distributed amongst those in need in the city. Critics of this method think this will take away the ‘personal’ aspect of giving to those in need, whilst those in favour say it allows the money to be used more effectively and safely.
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