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Eva Merz: LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Press & Journal 09 November 2007

Concerning front page article (P&J 7th Nov) “Artist trashed project aimed at helping homeless” I truly welcome a debate about street beggars’ problems. As suggested by Sue Irving of Aberdeen Cyrenians, the donation boxes were no adequate response to the multiple causes, which lead people to beg. This is not about me, the artist who, anonymously, put a few stickers up. Having researched begging in Aberdeen over the past years, I want to discuss the real issues and get facts into the open. People who want to get away from begging, homelessness and drug addiction find it very hard, if not impossible, to get help because services in Aberdeen are either non-existent or not coping. Aberdeen City Council’s homelessness services were deemed ‘poor’ in a Communities Scotland Inspection Report in November 2005, and Aberdeen has no drug rehabilitation facilities.

The donation boxes have been removed! Has the council admitted, although not publicly, that the scheme was a failure? Is there really a ‘much wider strategy’ and what will it implement?

If the council wish to see no beggars on the streets of Aberdeen, they should start looking at serious alternatives to petty donations. Most people will agree that Aberdeen, a prosperous city, surely can do better at helping our socially excluded, but fellow citizens. Respect Real People.

Sincerely,

Eva Merz, 993 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow