Beggar Alley

Well ok, less an alley and more of a pavement. It’s still annoying though!

Where I work, there are two or three beggars that often camp out near cashpoints or near supermarkets. I am not devoid of sympathy for them, but there are so many reasons why I feel they’re taking the proverbial piss.

The main problem I have with them is that there are plenty of places for them to go. Shelters and centres exist all over the place, and yet they choose to remain on the streets.

Of course, no one wants to be out on the streets. It’s cold, you are likely to take abuse from people, and it’s a mark of poverty. I very much doubt they chose the circumstances that led to living rough. Nevertheless, given the choice between getting off the streets and dealing with their troubles, or remaining on the curb, relying on loose change, they choose the latter.

It might well be due to having to face whatever problem that drove them to the pavement in the first place. Whilst it is grossly unfair of me to suggest the majority of the homeless are addicts in any way shape or form, for those who are addicts, going to a shelter means getting off the drink or drugs that have helped them numb their pain – and they don’t want to do that. In that sense, they are choosing their life.

Which is why I find it hard to have much sympathy for them. Again, it is perhaps unfair of me – I don’t know the problems that are driving someone to leave their home in favour of living rough, but surely they’re taking the easy route out of it all? If there is a place that can offer food warmth and shelter, surely that’s worth seeking out? Surely that’s better than a self-destructive cycle of drink and drugs, combined with being out on the streets?

What’s even worse is when they have an animal (usually a dog) at their side, which is being forced into that destitution. I don’t doubt there is a bond there, but is it not horribly unfair on the animal to be stuck out there, in the rain and cold, when help and a roof over their head is only a few steps away?

I don’t know, maybe this meerkat is just too cynical and should have more sympathy for their plight. I’m finding it hard to find though.

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