The situation of Leighton Buzzard’s homeless and its street drinkers has sparked fierce debate this week.
After reporting on the problems caused to business owners in North Street, the LBO interviewed Rev Wynn Jones who is the driving force behind Leighton Linslade Homeless Service.
She said: “The people [in the story] aren’t all homeless. Two of them are with us but three have actually got homes of their own.
“Unfortunately these people are street drinkers. People think that they are all homeless but they are not.”
Rev Jones said shops in the town centre sold drink and cigarettes to the group.
She added: “Of course, if these people have just enough money for one or two cans they will stand and share them.”
Five community protection notices were given in May 2016 banning five street drinkers from Leighton’s high street.
Asked about complaints of antisocial behaviour, Rev Wynn added: “I can understand and I would be upset too. But now they have to keep out of town they are just trying to find somewhere else to go.”
The LBO also interviewed a man who supplies food to the homeless in Leighton Buzzard several nights a week.
He said: “They’ve got nowhere else to go, although I don’t agree with them getting drunk and causing a nuisance.
“I go out most nights with my dog, we’ll find homeless people and I’ll give them jacket potatoes and sandwiches.
“It’s not much trouble, giving them some food and a chat, but it’s a good place to start.
“We shouldn’t judge someone from how they look, I’m not saying they are all good but they aren’t all bad. The reason they hang around the shop is that they have nowhere to go, sometimes they’ll go to places like the library where it’s warm.”
And Rev Jones added: “People become homeless for many different reasons. Their ages are right across the board, up to 65. It can be marriage break-ups, loss of homes for whatever reason, family problems – everyone of them has a unique reason.
“People also think they are all drinkers and wasters. One of two of them are living rather hazardous lives but a lot of them are not.”
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