A town in northern Italy has made it illegal for people to give money to beggars.
The decision was made after residents in the Ligurian coastal town of Bordighera, complained that they were being bothered by local beggars.
The Local.It reports:
Mayor Giacomo Pallanca said it was “pointless” to punish the beggars “who can’t or will never be able to pay” fines, and so the onus will now be on people to stop giving them money.
The mayor ushered the rule in ahead of the tourism season, which usually gets underway over the Easter weekend.
“Since real organizations are often behind this phenomenon, we must eradicate it by discouraging those who offer money,” he told Il Secolo XIX.
“For anyone who is really in a state of destitution, there are social services available.”
Pallanca was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Local.
Similar initiatives have divided debate, but Steve Barnes, the co-founder of Project Rome, which supports hundreds of homeless people in the Italian capital, said the move by Bordighera is “very positive”.
“Not only is it humiliating to throw a few small coins at a person on the street, but it is far better to show them genuine compassion and kindness,” Barnes, who himself has been homeless, told The Local.
“A move like this also eliminates the risk of supporting organized street crime or fuelling an alcohol or drug habit, which could better be supported by the appropriate authorities.”
Project Rome also urges people to stop giving money, and instead start acting with genuine warmth.
“They need to be treated as fellow humans and not invisible, or someone to rain small change down on.”