Brown Brings Homelessness Motion To Council

Alliance councillor Patrick Brown introduces motion to tackle homelessness in the Newry Mourne and Down District

Alliance councillor Patrick Brown introduces motion to tackle homelessness in the Newry Mourne and Down District

Local Alliance councillor Patrick Brown introduced a motion at Monday’s full council meeting of Newry Mourne and Down District Council seeking to implement contactless payment stations to address the homelessness crisis in the area.

A homeless man sleeps rough on Market Street In Downpatrick at the end of December 2020 beside The Grove shopping centre. (Photo by Jim Masson/Down News.)

The motion calls on Council to take a lead in developing an innovative new way to raise money for local homelessness charities. It reads as follows:

Given the continued high homelessness rates in the District and the rise in cashless transactions, this Council commits to installing a number of contactless payment stations in main urban areas across the District, which can gather donations for homelessness charities based in the District to distribute to those most in need.

The motion has been deferred to the Strategic, Policy and Resources Committee later this month and will be fully debated by councillors then.

Cllr Patrick Brown.

Cllr Brown said: “I was first made aware about contactless donation points a few years ago, but they’ve grown in popularity since being installed in major cities across the UK and Europe. As we live in an increasingly cashless society, we quite often get caught with no money on our person.

“This isn’t a problem if we are tapping our phones for a coffee or in-store shopping – but it does significantly limit our ability to be able to help someone sleeping on the street.”

“I know that I have been caught on more than on occasion without any change in my pocket, and I am also so aware that homelessness charities need all the support they can get to tackle the increasing amount of people who are being left without a roof over their head.

“This issue is only becoming more prevalent as we deal with the economic instability caused by the pandemic, that have left may financially exposed.”

Cllr Brown added “I believe that by installing a few of these contactless payment points we would be able to fund local charities and ensure money is directed where it is most needed, and to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“There is an opportunity to integrate the payment points in with existing street furniture, such as ATMs, payphones or bus stops, so they will easily fit in with the current aesthetic of our towns.”