A card that allows residents to donate to a homeless shelter is being given out by Fareham council as a way for residents to deter ‘intimidating’ beggars.
The card contains a QR code that can be scanned by a mobile phone to make a donation to Two Saints, which runs homeless shelters across the borough.
Councillor Trevor Cartwright, Executive Member for Health and Public Protection for Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘People feel intimated by people begging.
‘If you have a card, you can just tell them you are contributing to an organisation that is there to help.
‘We have had positive feedback so far.
‘They are totally free – it’s up to residents to be honest about their contributions.
The cards, which are bio-degradeable, are available from the reception of the Civic Offices, One Community shop in Fareham Shopping Centre and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Donations will help support Two Saints’ Gosport Road Shelter, founded in 2014, which is an 18-room direct access hostel with shared facilities and full-board catered service.
Nicky, a team leader at the hostel, said the scheme was welcome as ‘stretched’ resources were making it ‘harder’ to offer support people.
She said: ‘The resources are just not there.
‘We are at capacity 24/7.
‘More and more shelters getting closed down across the country.
‘But there is the community support for people dealing with homelessness.
The council has introduced the cards as one of several measures to address crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre, following a public meeting in June where angry residents blasted the council and the police for their response to the issue.
QR codes for Fareham Street Aid, the council’s scheme to help people sleeping on the street, have been placed on posters across the town centre and printed on car parking tickets.
Two security guards will patrol the town centre for 37 hours per week from the end of November, as part of a 12-month trial costing more than £70,000.