People can find out how to help the homeless in the run up to the festive season at an information day.
Crawley Borough Council officers and staff from Crawley Open House will be in Queens Square on November 30, from 10am to 2pm, to answer questions about supporting the community through ‘diverted giving’.
This aims to encourage people to donate money or items to homeless support charities instead of directly to beggars.
A council spokesman said: “Many of the town’s residents are incredibly generous and the council is keen to ensure that that generosity is used effectively.
“Begging is illegal and doesn’t offer long-terms solutions. In some cases beggars are not sleeping rough and use the money to feed harmful addictions.”
Councillor Michael Jones, Cabinet Member for Housing, added: “Homelessness is a prevalent issue here in Crawley and the council works with a range of partners to support those sleeping rough and reduce the number of homelessness in our town.
“This event will help inform people about the level of help available locally and how they can give responsibly.”
Councillor Brenda Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Protection, said: “It’s important to recognise that rough sleeping and begging has an impact on fear of crime and safety in the town centre.
“Diverted giving will enable local charities to carry on their vital work, ensuring those in need receive support and move off the streets and towards a better, more stable future, which in turn will reduce this fear.”
Crawley Open House provides temporary accommodation, healthcare, financial advice and employment support to people sleeping rough, with the aim of helping them to get back on their feet.
For more information about Crawley Open House, visit www.crawleyopenhouse.co.uk