Work with beg­gars to start

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JA­NINE RANKIN

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.

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