Charities bounced?

PERTH city council has cracked down on beggars in the Perth train station overpass, posting signs reminding them of a ban on sitting, standing or lying in the thoroughfare.

The overpass is where Salvation Army volunteer Shirley Mort collected $1.7 milllion for charity over the last 26 years, and according to the signs, nowadays she’d have been up for a fine.

As well as being a hotspot for shaking a collection tin, the footbridge was a favourite of homeless people begging for coins from commuters.

There were usually two or three sitting with cups in hand, but when the Voice went by this week they were all gone.

• New sign erected by Perth city council in the Perth train station overpass. Photo supplied

Conrad Liveris from homeless advocacy group Street Smugglers described the move as “disrespectful” and “ill-considered”.

He lived rough on the streets for a week so he could better understand the experience of homeless people.

“The City of Perth fundamentally does not understand the importance of access to public spaces,” he says.

“Targeting public spaces, especially those where homeless people go, isn’t just disrespectful, it is ill-considered.

“Forcing homeless people away from public visibility is the definition of NIMBYism and also precludes them from access to the services they need.

“Homeless people have become out of sight, out of mind and out of reach.

“These sorts of actions don’t just fail to solve issues of homelessness, but make them harder to solve … the City of Perth should not push them out of sight but work with services and individuals to limit the impact it may see.”

We asked Perth council media man Michael Holland what was behind the move but he continued his 17-month streak of not responding to Perth Voice media requests.

by DAVID BELL

One response to “Charities bounced?

  1. That notice first appeared some months ago. And while the people begging have disappeared, which I have to say isn’t a bad thing, the Big Issue sellers seem to have disappeared too which is a shame.
    Being a pedant when it comes to language, however, it was the reference to people ‘laying’ on the walkway that drew my eye. I posted a photo of the notice on Facebook, bewailing the fact that I didn’t have a picture of a chook to stick on (well deface) the notice with! And I’m pleased to see that you used ‘lying’ in your article. Terrific. My question to the universe on Facebook was ‘when did laying come into the language in reference to people lying on the ground? When I was at school teachers said that only chooks lay, people lie”‘.

    Val Marsden

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