Swiss City Offers Homeless People One Way Ticket To Anywhere Else In Europe To Clean Up Town
The city of Basel in Switzerland is reportedly attempting to lower the population of those experiencing homelessness by offering one-way tickets to anywhere else in Europe.
Located in north-western Switzerland, on the river Rhine, Basel is the country’s third-largest town and has a population of just over 170,000.
It is praised for its art scene, food markets and historic architecture, but the city’s immigration service appears to be unimpressed with those residing in the city without a permanent home, so is offering the one-way train tickets in an attempt to usher them out.
According to a report by 20 Minutes, anyone experiencing homelessness can request a rail voucher if they are willing to sign a written contract promising not to return to Switzerland for a certain period of time.
Toprak Yergu, spokesperson for the Basel Department of Justice, told the publication that if those who use the tickets are caught violating the contract, they risk being deported.
A total of 31 people are said to have taken advantage of the offer so far, including seven people from Belgium, seven from Germany, two from Italy and 14 people from Romania, for whom the city is said to have arranged flights to the Romanian capitol of Bucharest.
The controversial system is not the first instance in which authorities have used one-way tickets to reduce homelessness, with a Guardian investigation from 2018 revealing councils in the UK have previously been responsible for similar offerings.
Data indicated that 6,810 travel tickets had been purchased across 83 councils in England and Wales since 2015, with ‘reconnection policies’ aiming to encourage those without a permanent home to voluntarily return to areas where they had family and support networks.
Local authorities at the time reportedly defended the policy by pointing out that the tickets were accepted on a voluntary basis, though some of those who were targeted with the program said they had been offered tickets to places they had never been and felt as if they were given no choice.
The process has been slammed by some campaigners, who have described it as ‘street cleansing’ and an abdication of responsibility.
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