Poland: City offers homeless people 'one-way ticket'

A view of Swinoujscie from the sea Image copyright Wikimedia/Schnurzipurz
Image caption So far only three homeless people have taken up the offer of a free train ticket

A Polish city has started offering homeless people a one-way train ticket out of town, it's reported.

Swinoujscie, on Poland's western border with Germany, has a homeless population of about 50, some of whom shelter in bunkers near the beach. But the local authorities claim their presence puts off tourists, and they want to improve the city's image, the Polish Radio website reports. Officials say many homeless people have come from other places, and that the policy will help them to return "back home". Only three of the city's homeless residents have so far accepted the offer, and opinions were mixed among those speaking to the TVP news channel. While one man says he would use the ticket to visit family, another dismisses the idea. "I've been here 19 years and I like it," he says.

The scheme has been slammed by one member of parliament, who says it sounds like a grim joke. "I don't want to believe someone could think of something like this, rather than looking for other solutions to help the homeless," Stanislaw Szwed is quoted as saying on the Radio Maria website. "The state earmarks funds to tackle this. People like this need support." The sentiment was echoed by many of those commenting on the site. "They have become homeless because they had no job," says one person. "It is terrible to see government positions destroying everything humane in people."

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