Rotterdam’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has backed calls to end the practice of fining homeless people for sleeping on the streets.
Aboutaleb said homeless people should be given help and support rather than issued with fines they were unable to pay. ‘I really want to stop this. It doesn’t help our homeless,’ he told the city council.
The mayor was speaking during a debate on whether to extend the ban on drinking in public parks to all year round. Currently drinking outdoors is permitted between April and September.
Many homeless people are fined for sleeping rough when they are caught drinking out of season. The initial fine of €90 can increase incrementally to €252 if it is not paid promptly.
Aboutaleb called for the council to work with police and prosecution officials to find a better alternative to issuing fines, which then escalate because the homeless person is unable to pay them.
TV presenter Beau van Erven Dorens recently launched a social media campaign to abolish fines for homelessness, arguing: ‘It’s not left or right, it’s just stupid.’
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