On Saturday evening at about 10pm as I walked along Broad street in Oxford I am sure I heard the following. One of the younger, and more persistent, sellers of The Big Issue was leaving a group of other sellers and 'street people'. As he did so he invited them to come round to see him (implying he has a permanent base) and see a video game (implying he has a video player and television on which to play it) which he had bought for £40 the previous day (more than implying the availability of cash for, let's face it, an inessential).
I do not deny that there is a homelessness problem in Oxford. I have seen people sleeping and living rough in the city centre - not least people living in tents in the churchyard at St Thomas' a few years ago. However hearing such comments as his makes one very wary indeed of giving to beggars. The doubtful or fraudulent beggars' saddest victims are, of course, the genuinely homeless we don't help for fear - and a not unreasonable one - of being conned. That has happened to me in the past I have realised subsequently, and it made me very angry.
Tears of Faith and Love: founded in 1988, FSSP enters 30th year - Come sorrowing tears, the offspring of my grief, Scant not your parent of a needful aid; In you I rest the hope of wish'd relief, By you my sinful debts mu...
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