Barnsley Homeless Alliance

Homelessness and begging

Everyone wants to help, but there's a better way than giving money directly to someone begging; you can help people get the long term help and support they need.  

Take a look at some of the questions we've been asked by people to get a better understanding of how you can make a long term difference to someone's life. 

To ask about Barnsley Homeless Alliance

What's the difference between rough sleeping and being homeless? 

Rough sleeping is the most visible sign of homelessness and usually people who sleep rough have nowhere else to go and will sleep outside.

Some people may be homeless but have somewhere to stay for a short time. This may be either in temporary accommodation such as hostels, or between family and friends homes (also known as ‘sofa surfing’).

Other people may be classed as homeless and remain in their own home, but need to move out because it's no longer suitable for them or they've been informed they will need to leave.

How many people sleep rough in Barnsley? 

It's not possible to say exactly how many people are sleeping rough as the number changes on an almost daily basis.

We have a support navigator who goes out in the town centre in the early mornings to find people who have been sleeping rough and offer them support.

It's important that help is offered to everyone who's sleeping rough or begging. This is provided by lots of different organisations in Barnsley.

Are people who beg homeless? 

Not always.

Information gathered about begging in Barnsley found most people that were regularly begging in the town centre had somewhere to stay.

Does giving money to people who are begging help them? 

People who beg need support so we can understand why they beg and what help they need to resolve any issues they're experiencing. Giving money to them doesn’t help them get or use the support available.

Most agencies working with homeless people and those who beg agree that giving money directly to someone on the street isn't helpful. It's better to give to a charity that helps people make long-term, positive changes.

If I give money to people who are begging what will they spend it on? 

It’s not possible to know what your money will be spent on. Giving to the charities who offer help and support to people who are homeless or begging means you'll know your money is being used in a positive way. It'll enable people to get the help they need now, and in the long term.  

How can I help 

There are lots of ways you can get involved, you can take a look at our ways to help page to see how.