'Trapped in a cycle': People encouraged to stop giving to street beggars

A man on Stanmore Rd. Photo: File image
A man on Stanmore Rd. Photo: File image
A group working to help people begging for money on Christchurch streets is encouraging pedestrians to donate to social agencies rather than give directly to the beggars.

The Inner City Collaborative Action Group, which consists of the Central City Residents Association, police and Christchurch City Council, has been working on ways to help people begging on the streets for the past six months.

"Giving money may keep people trapped in a cycle of begging," said the group's spokesperson Shaun Stockman.

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

Stockman says the ICCAG is working to provide long-term, sustainable support to people who beg.

He claims hunger is not the issue.

The ICCAG, which comprises the Central City Residents Association, police and Christchurch City...
The ICCAG, which comprises the Central City Residents Association, police and Christchurch City Council, is working to provide long-term, sustainable support to people who beg. Photo: File image
Stockman said Christchurch has a "community kai programme" with a number of services that offer meals and food parcels to the city’s vulnerable people, and 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," Stockman says.

However, he 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," Stockman said.

 

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