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UK Shops Make 'Big Issue' of Homeless Vendors

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Lesthertod
Lesthertod  
1/29/2014 2:29:08 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
The Big Issue
Awesome article Rich, initiatives like that one are definitely worth sharing and encouraging.

The reaction of shopping centers is understandable, however they could use it to take advantage of PR and status. Being on board of a "charity" that allows homeless to reintegrate to an economic cycle (and almost for sure, to get back on track with their lives).

Something interesting however might be, that a homeless here in Mexico (at most cities) could earn more in a day that a regular worker with minimum wage, plus they don't pay taxes. I've known a few that even when they had the opportunity to get a "real" job, they preferred to stay on the streets. I'm not sure how they get everything that they need, however we've adopted a culture where we "need" many extra stuff that are not essential most of the cases.

Lesthertod
Lesthertod  
1/29/2014 2:17:51 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Big Issue
Unfortunately it's an issue that happens a lot within charities, and was common for churchs as well.

An interesting thing is that Pope Francis is actively encouraging to drop that kind of behaviours, I remember the communicate he did to the archbishops, where he told them (I think that it was a reprimand) to stop using the money of the congregation to buy expensive clothes/furniture/cars/etc and to actually use it to help the ones who need it the most or to give it to less fortunate communities and such.

Let's hope that with his instruction (and our cooperation) things change at least a bit. And we stop seeing that kind of events!

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/28/2014 4:57:23 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: the big issue about "the big issue"
Interesting point, kq4ym. However, if there's still some sort of demand for Big Issue, as there appears to be, I can't see it being a bad thing to let the homeless sell this product.

CitySolver
CitySolver  
1/28/2014 11:49:21 AM
User Rank Blogger
1991
Just to say i have seen your comment Rich that the big issue was founded in 1991, later than I perceived but I hold by my argument that it is a dated concept.

Pablo Valerio
Pablo Valerio  
1/28/2014 11:45:45 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: An Image problem
Dave, I agree with you. We have a similar situation here with "La Farola". Initially was a weekly paper produced by the trade unions and sold by unemployed people to make a bit of extra money. Soon became a license to beg.

Now we see people at the entrance of malls, grocery stores and other retailers with a couple of copies asking for money. Nobody buys the magazine but gives them some legitimacy for that activity.

CitySolver
CitySolver  
1/28/2014 11:44:45 AM
User Rank Blogger
charity relationships
I dont see how having big issue vendors in the shopping centre can harm the relationship with other charities and I suspect this is an excuse to prevent the infiltration of sleek developments with the depressing sight of homeless people selling stuff. I have always been sceptical about the very idea of the big issue, and I have read about the founder extensively and find it very dated. Why does the UK governement not support measures to do up empty homes using homeless labour, get them into work and work a out a reduced payment plan to help them buy or rent one of the homes they help to restore. This would be far more productive and helpful to the economy. There is one man on our high street that has been selling the big issue for years and is young and looks in god health. I feel like saying to him (but more to the government) that selling the big issue should not be a career choice, but a last resort, and lastly I think it is demoralising for people to have to sell a magazine in the street in all weathers rather than find proper meaningful work. In short, I believe personally that initiatives like the Big Issue are dated, archaic, demoralising for the seller, depressing for the public and serve no purpose other than the line the pockets of the millionaire guy who founded the venture. Maybe it was groundbreaking back in the 70s or 80s but now it is an anachronism casuing more harm than good (in my opinion :)

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
1/28/2014 11:08:49 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Big Issue
Oh man I am CRINGING at that image, James@SanDiego. Absolutely disgusting.

We have a Big Issue analogue here in Washington - StreetSense newspapers, which are mostly sold by legitimate vendors who are polite and don't harass prospective buyers. From the vendors I've talked to, they sort of work their own corners and have for years in many cases. I don't see the use of a storefront and suspect they would not either. I also would fully expect DC store owners to freak out were such a thing to be proposed.

To piggyback on Terry's comment, I also have to respect the feelings of store owners who pay such horrible monthly rents to lease space in DC's neighbhorhoods and who keep me from having to shop completely online. 

 

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
1/28/2014 9:32:54 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Big Issue
@James, I remember Rev. Fuller, I live in Los Angeles. I have a problem with Weath Redistribution. Its my mony keep your hands off it, is my feeling on the subject. Dont get me wrong i make good money and will donate money to those in need when i have it.

I stopped giving food and money donations to our local Salvation Army when I saw people pulling up in BMWs and other expensive cars and then lining up to get food. No thanks. Please sell your high end expensive car and use that money to buy food for the next year or so.

richheap
richheap  
1/28/2014 5:27:55 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: the big issue about "the big issue"
The Big Issue has been around since 1991, which is well before the web came along and shook up print publishing. And it's always been sold by homeless people as a way to make some money and help them get off the streets. Here's the organisation's history.

I don't understand your point about this not being a legimitate income, though. Journalists write and produce it, homeless people sell it, and people on the street buy it. What part of that isn't legitimate? There's no difference in that process than, say, Apple producing iPods and retailers selling them to customers who want to buy them.

Also, in this case the magazine has to be something physically printed that people can buy and sell on the street. I don't see how this would work if they were trying to sell annual subscriptions to a paid-for Big issue website, for example.

richheap
richheap  
1/28/2014 5:18:28 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Whose control?
You may suggest that, Terry -- politely and respectfully, of course. I should just make the point that I don't think the Big Issue Foundation is trying to shame shopping centre owners into letting in Big Issue sellers, as it looks as though it is trying to work with the owners to see if there's a way it can make this work. It's us journalists who'd have to take any flak for accusations of "shaming". How do you mean this could backfire, though? Would they let in fewer Big Issue sellers than they currently do? Most already don't let them in. I don't see how anyone ends up in a worse position by trying and failing than if they never tried.

As for it being their property, you're right. Ultimately, it's theirs to do what they want with, but we can still be disappointed with them if we don't agree with that policy. I'm not sure there's a situation here that works for all centres equally. Some brand themselves as being a "luxury retail destination" in which case a Big Issue vendor might look out of place and affect the centre's brand; but other smaller centres want to be seen as being at the heart of the community and, for those ones, I don't think a Big Issue seller would look out of place.

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