Nottingham City Council treating homeless as less than human says Christian charity

Wed 28 Sep 2016
By Aaron James

A Christian charity has said that Nottingham City Council is "reinforcing social prejudices" towards the homeless, with posters urging people not to give them money.

The Canaan Trust homeless charity, based in Nottingham, also said that the Council was treating people on the streets as less than human with the posters, which implied money given to them would be spent on drugs, alcohol and fraud.

The Advertising Standards (ASA) banned some of the Council's posters, saying they "portrayed all beggars as disingenuous and undeserving individuals that would use direct donations for irresponsible means".

"We further considered the ads reinforced negative stereotypes of a group of individuals, most of whom were likely to be considered as vulnerable, who faced a multitude of issues and required specialist support," it added.

Speaking on the News Hour Kevin Curtis, from the Canaan Trust, said: "The crux of the issue is that it tars every individual with the same brush.

"They were reinforcing social prejudice - negative judgements on individuals who, invariably, haven't chosen to be homeless. Homelessness is not a choice. It can happen to anyone.

"Every single organisation that I know of across the county who is working with the homeless... actually believes that the message is wrong."

Nottingham City Council is considering appealing the ASA's verdict.

Council leader Jon Collins said: "Begging harms those who do it because it provides a ready supply of cash to be spent on life-threatening addictions. Also, local people have clearly told us that begging is their number one anti-social behaviour concern in the city centre.

"The ASA has made a decision based on just seven complaints from people who thought the campaign targeted homeless people. It wasn't about homelessness and made no reference to it."

Listen to Premier's Marcus Jones speaking to Kevin Curtis on the News Hour:

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