Public perceptions of Liverpool’s homeless remain negative, according to a new study involving Basement service users and staff.
The study – entitled “Down and Out in Liverpool “– investigates the attitudes of the general public, council and police, towards homeless people in Liverpool.
The findings of the study, which was carried out by researchers at Durham University, were disconcerting.
Interviews conducted with members of the public revealed their perceptions of homeless people to be negative. For example, those interviewed felt that most homeless people had an “unsavoury appearance” and were likely to experience problems with addition.
This was backed up by testimonies from Basement interviewees who spoke of antipathy, towards the homeless, by the general public. A number of service users also admitted to putting on an aggressive demeanour to protect themselves and to avoid victimisation, particularly from young men.
When asked how they were treated by the police in busy city centre areas, Basement service users claimed they were often hassled and asked to leave.
As a result, the researchers found that not only are homeless people in Liverpool being marginalised but they are also being driven away from the city centre towards its outskirts – despite the council’s claims that it is committed to supporting Liverpool’s homeless.