Work with beggars to start
Palmerston North’s attempt to use social workers to encourage beggars to get off the streets will begin this week.
The MASH Trust has been awarded a three-month contract with the city council to tackle the issue after options of making a bylaw or using SafeCity hosts to discourage people giving money to beggars were rejected.
The council adopted the social work plan in September, reallocating a budget of $16,900 it had set aside for the hosts proposal that had been earlier recommended by the Safety Advisory Board.
City council general manager for libraries and community services Debbie Duncan said the social workers would provide targeted services supporting the beggars in the central business district with a view to reducing their presence.
The trust’s first week on the job would involve an assessment of the situation.
MASH staff would then start working on city streets from the end of October.
The city council has asked for efforts to be directed at ensuring the basic needs of those begging had been identified and addressed, and that they were connected to the relevant social agencies and health services in the region.