Swiss city offers homeless one way ticket to anywhere in Europe if they agree not to return
The controversial scheme has reportedly seen 31 people take up the offer
Basel - the third-largest town in Switzerland and located on the Rhine River - has come up with a controversial way to combat homelessness: simply tell them to go elsewhere. No, seriously, that's it...
In a truly callous scheme by the local authorities, they are offering free one-way tickets to homeless people currently residing in the city which will take them to any other location in Europe that they choose. The key phrase there being 'one-way' - this is where it gets really depressing.
As per 20 Minutes (a free daily newspaper and online publication in Switzerland), homeless individuals who choose to accept the 'voluntary initiative' cannot return and if they do, will effectively be treated as illegal immigrants and deported. There will be "a Rail Check as well as a donation of 20 francs to any beggar who requests it" and that's where it ends.
The city's Department of Justice spokesperson, Toprak Yergu, explained the agreement that all homeless people must sign and stick should they choose to accept:
“beneficiaries must undertake in writing not to return to Switzerland - at least for a certain period of time. If they are checked again, they risk expulsion from our country. ”
Basel isn't the only place to have suggested this proposal either: back in 2018, The Guardian reported that local councils in Britain had explored similar plans on multiple occasions too.
It is believed that 31 people have so far accepted the Swiss city's offer, but the general consensus is that this is nothing more than ‘street cleansing’ and a shirking of civil and social responsibility that devalues human beings who already feel they have no choice.
The treatment of homeless people as seemingly nothing more than a nuisance continues to baffle. The issue is still rife throughout the world and people are right to question how and why housing crises exist, especially in countries where the houses are there (or at least being built) but people are simply priced out of every being able to live in one.
The housing crisis continues to rage on in countries like Ireland and in Manchester - a city's whose 'property boom' was recently covered on the BBC documentary, Manctopia - the supposed solution being posited to fix homelessness is to stick already vulnerable people in metal shipping containers underneath railway bridges.
As if it needed explaining: cargo containers aren't homes. While the man behind the plans, Tim Heatley (of Capital & Centric) seems to think it's a novel solution to a problem, it's actually just a case of more ways to make profit. In case you need convincing as to what type of man he is, this is a quote he actually said with his own human mouth in the aforementioned documentary:
“The reality is with so many more people living in the city centre and so much more development happening it’s kind of like you uncover more homelessness, you uncover more squatters, you uncover more rough sleeping… it’s kind of like as you go through with a sweeping broom trying to regenerate and improve and make the areas look nice again, the dust that throws up is evident.”
A truly disgusting lack of compassion and simply inhumane way to describe real people already experiencing unimaginable struggle and hardships. While his Embassy Village vision might have a glossy sheen on its promotional photos, make no mistake, it doesn't take much to strip the paint back and see it for what it is.
There are initiatives like these all over the globe and all it does is further highlight how much more can be done for these people and how, for many governments, the approach is to simply sweep it (them) under the rug.
A society that spends more time installing anti-homeless measure in their cities than it does housing them isn't the world people want to live in. Unlike WWII, this isn't even neutral from Switzerland, it's downright neglect and appeasement.