Homelessness in Wanstead

A poster on a Redbridge-i forum has raised the subject of homelessness in Wanstead, something which was mentioned in passing at the Area One committee last week. The post reads:

I am finding it both upsetting and surprising to see the incongruous site of beggars/homelss men in Wanstead High Street in the mornings on my commute to work. Twice in the past few months I have given some change. Although I am alwasy quite cynical of whethter they are genuine or not, my philosophy is that if you are desperate enough to be losing your diginity by having to asking people for money, then there must be at least something wrong…and besides, it’s only a few quid. I am wondering where these guys are coming from, as leafy Wanstead is hardly the place you expect to see them, and I would imagine that because this is the case, Wanstead doesn’t have many facilities in place to direct these guys to…such as hostels, support services etc. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I could tell these guys to go to get help within walking distance of Wanstead High Street?

With suddenly much colder nights, the last point deserves some useful information if Wansteadium readers can share, via the comments form below.

7 thoughts on “Homelessness in Wanstead”

  1. They will go away if we stop giving them money. Most begging is carried out by addicts. Clearly these people need help but most of the advice from the relevant agencies and charities is to donate money through channels that will ensure it is spent wisely. Most beggars are not homeless and most homeless are not beggars. The key connection is between class A drugs and begging. Not something we should be perpetuating in the area.

  2. I agree Comte, I feel bad every time I say no to the beggar outside tesco, but I really can’t afford to give a pound or so every time I nip to the shop. I’ve also noticed recently that he only seems to appear in poor weather and asks everybody who goes near the shop for money – often whilst enjoying a super strength lager. I don’t believe he is down and out in wanstead but comes here to beg as it is perceived as a well to do area. I do have sympathy for these people and do give monthly donations to St. Mungos homeless charity. maybe next time I’ll offer to buy him a sandwich?

  3. Beggars are a dilemma. I have sympathy, but giving money I think is not a good idea. In South Woodford a woman called Tracy was a regular fixture in George Lane for a couple of years. She was there in all weathers, and looked awful. I would occasionally buy her a coffee, but never gave her money, although others did. Once I saw a little boy give her money, and his mother told him that was a kind thing to do. Tracy told me she slept in Sainsburys car park. Late one night I saw her go over to a black, expensive looking car, talk to the driver, and then go back to her spot – presumably she was buying drugs. She had a mobile phone, which was odd for someone who was so poor she had to beg on the streets. There was a mini outcry when the Police moved her on (not sure if she was arrested, or simply told to keep off the streets). Through the local paper the Police announced that she was not homeless, she lived in Eastwood Road. After that she wasn’t around any more. We knew that she had lied, and duped us, including the little boy who had presumably given her some of his pocket money. Conclusion? Giving money to people on the streets is not the answer – but perhaps it makes us feel better. As a previous post says, better to give to a homeless charity which hopefully can do some good.

  4. i saw the guy outside tesco (the one with the dog) and instead of money offered him a doggy bag i was bringing home after a dinner out. he was incredibly nice and grateful. i don’t have money to spare but i don’t see any problem offering folks food. i have an old parka/sweater that i don’t want any more, instead of giving to a shop to sell, i was going to give them to him but haven’t seen him for a while (i would rather see my old clothes go onto bodies that might not be able to afford to buy them instead of seeing them resold…)

  5. Many are fake and opportunists. Outside Tesco’s, I heard one talking on a phone, saying to a friend that he would join them “When I’ve made some ****ing money”.

    Please, please don’t give them money. It drags them in from other areas and solves no genuine problem. Shelter and The London Connection do a wonderful job. DJC mentions St Mungo’s. Give your money to them – it does so much more good.

  6. Most beggars or homeless people will be in touch with local services and the Local Authority, so if they aren’t, point them in the direction of Redbridge Local Authority in Ilford. There is a daily soup run in Walthamstow High Street (near Mission Grove) and a nightshelter on York Road in Ilford.

  7. Redbridge have an outreach team and one can report rough sleepers to them http://www.shp.org.uk/redbridgesort. Also this new initiative Streetlink will do the same job http://www.streetlink.org.uk/ If they are rough sleepers they’ll probably be known to services anyway.

    Thanks CTH, I work for what is now called the Connection at St Martin’s and the public do indeed report people on the streets to us in our area if they are causing concern.

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