Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Christchurch begs for social change

People wanting to help those begging on the streets of central Christchurch are being encouraged to donate to social agencies rather than give directly to those asking for money.

“Giving money may keep people trapped in a cycle of begging,’’ says Shaun Stockman from the Inner City Collaborative Action Group (ICCAG), which has been working together for six months on ways to help people begging on the street.

“If people get money from begging, they can continue to beg instead of seeking out support and help in other more sustainable forms.’’

Mr Stockman says the ICCAG, which comprises the Central City Residents Association, the Canterbury Police, and Christchurch City Council, is working to provide long-term, sustainable support to people who beg.

Hunger, he says, is not the issue.

“Christchurch has a community kai programme with a number of services that offer meals and food parcels to the city’s vulnerable people. Social agencies across for the city will direct those in need.”

“Seeing someone begging can be confronting, evoking a range of emotions from frustration to sadness. It is only natural to want to help,’’ Mr Stockman says.

Police have advised there are occasions where donated money has been used to buy drugs and alcohol.

“If you are wanting to help those begging, we would encourage you to seek out well-known community agencies, who will be happy to share with you how your donation will be spent,’’ Mr Stockman says.

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