After reading “City council acts on rise in ‘opportunist’ begging” I got to thinking that yes, the charity boxes will help some; but it will not help all in need.
Having spent time in both Auckland and Wellington talking to people who “beg” I’ve learned that it’s not just a lazy way to get some money – it’s sometimes the only way some of these people can get something to eat, perhaps even a warm pair of socks.
Not everyone who is out on the street asking for a handout are doing it to fuel a drug or alcohol addiction, and nor are they all layabouts with nothing to do with their day, or more to the point not willing to do something.
The problem is deeper, and unless we look at the real issues, the reasons why people are on the street asking for spare coin we will never really understand it.
Agencies can do their part, they can talk with officialdom to look for solutions, but unless they talk with the people who are asking for coin we’ll never truly understand the “why”.
People I’ve spoken to have said they’re not eligible for welfare payments, perhaps this will worsen with more people being declined or having payments cut when drug / alcohol testing comes starts to hit.
Sure, welfare payments are for food, housing etc, not for recreational purposes; but that’s another issue.
I’m not suggesting that agencies aren’t doing their job, what I’m suggesting, or more to the point wonder is what agencies have been out and spent time talking to people about solutions. Are the charity boxes a real solution?
Will all the money in the boxes get to where it’s needed, or will a clip be taken for administering the ‘funds’?
One homeless man I’ve recently met has told me he receives a benefit, but sits on the street to collect any other money he can. His reason; the benefit he gets isn’t enough to feed, clothe or house him.
He collects an average of $60 per week – half he uses to help him from week to week, the other he’s setting aside to help him move into affordable accommodation. He’s actually saving money for his future and to help him improve his lifestyle.
Maybe this guy is a rarity, but he has a story, one which I’m wondering have agencies asked him to share.
It will be interesting to see if the move to install Charity Boxes will work, I’m doubtful. I’m wondering if instead it will result in more aggressive begging, something the proponents of the boxes are hoping the boxes will end.
I guess only time will tell if this move by the Wellington City Council will have the desired effect.