News | Exposed: Homelessness in Leeds

Students have complained about a rise in homeless people approaching them for money around campus, LS can reveal.

Students have reported being approached daily in Hyde Park in the morning, and outside the Business School, raising the issue with police.

A police spokesperson told LS: “We’re looking at the increase in the number of reports around campus.” LS understands that the increase in homeless people around campus is linked to recent pressure on the homeless from City Neighbourhood Policing Team to move them out of the city centre. It is illegal to beg and aggressive begging is a serious offense.

The reports follow an incident on Tuesday involving a homeless man obstructing traffic near the One Stop shop in Hyde Park while indecently exposing himself to students.

A police spokesperson said: “Officers attended but found no one in the road. They conducted an extensive area search but were unable to find him.”

Days earlier, a male was removed from the Roger Stevens fountains having allegedly consumed legal highs that were found in his pocket. PC Matthew Guy later took him to Leeds General Infirmary.

PC Guy told LS: “This gentleman’s physical and mental condition may have been due to him taking a substance that has not been tested for human consumption. I do not understand any possible benefit he can take from putting himself into such a dangerous and vulnerable position.”

A second year international relations and Russian student, who has experienced being homeless said: “Homelessness and begging in Leeds is definitely an issue. I was quite shocked by the amount of people I saw”. He added that having a registered address legally, doesn’t necessarily mean that someone isn’t homeless.

Maddy Keating

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