I have no idea who Bernie Lynch is but I read his Facebook message to Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt this morning and thought it is worth sharing with Freo’s View readers as this is an issue close to my heart:
“As a resident of Fremantle, can I say how simply disgusted I am by these new ”change collection points’, designed to raise money for the homeless and rid Fremantle streets of their homeless presence………………..it is akin to the Govt sending refugees to Nauru or Manus, in that it is designed to make homeless peoples seem invisible, to drive them from our sight, out of our reach and therefore humans we cannot help…….the designers of this will disagree, saying that the funds collected will ultimately help them.
It has always of course been a conundrum, you see a homeless person sitting on the street, do you give them change, do you buy them food and drink……….I suspect most of us wonder whether small change we might give them goes to drink and drugs. Who are we to judge? And who are we to decide where the money goes. These are decisions that are always difficult and sometimes fraught with indecision that leads to giving nothing at all.
There are, apparently, some out there who are not homeless and yet are able to sit on our main streets and raise considerable amounts of money and these are the people our Lord Mayor is most concerned about.
I agree that these persons must be moved on. The Council knows who these persons are….just move them on.
But genuine homeless persons are not at all like this.
They wander with trolleys, looking day by day for somewhere to sleep, someone to connect with, some idea of how they might just simply survive.
In my street, there is a man living in a car, an unregistered car, a car under a tree so as to give some shade.
I am ashamed to say that I do not know how to respond to this man and his predicament. He has been here for two weeks now……..if you can suggest what I might do, please let me know.
Fremantle has decided that homeless peoples must move on.
God knows the council has screwed up the local retail environment. Wouldn’t you think they could work out a sociological way to house the less fortunate amongst us in the large number of empty buildings that occur in Fremantle.
Too much to ask?
I guess so.”
My concern is if people will actually donate to collecting points that look like modern parking meters or if in the end there will be no or hardly any donations. My second concern is what percentage of donated money would actually get to the needy beggars. We only recently read in the media the huge payments top management at Save the Children get, and that is obviously money that does not go to the source we donated it for in the first place. It is well known that unfortunately a very large percentage of money collected by charities goes to pay for the administration and staff payments.
Donation boxes will not get rid of homeless people and beggars but better social services might do, so why do gimmicky media stunts like these City of Fremantle? Maybe it would be better to open up one of the many vacant premises, e.g. the Queensgate cinemas owned by the City, so homeless people have shelter there. Maybe taking a small percentage of the parking fees the COF collects each year and donating that to charity would result in a far larger sum of money for the homeless and beggars, but I do realise that won’t get huge press coverage.
In my opinion the donation points is basically a cynical exercise in spin as it will have very low impact on the number of beggars on Freo’s street. People will be more inclined to give money to people they feel sorry for than to a box on a base they are most likely going to ignore or not even notice. We need real solutions to deal with a real problem and real people!