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Helping Hands working well for those who need it most

IMG 6509 300 x 200The Helping Hands campaign led by Napier City Council is showing good results for local support agencies working with rough sleepers and addiction issues. They say they are seeing a positive flow-on effect.

Helping Hands has been running for five months and encourages people to donate to legitimate agencies, rather than giving to those begging on the streets. NCC is working closely with the NZ Police, the Ministry of Social Development, Whatever It Takes Trust (WIT), The Salvation Army and Napier City Business Inc to try and assist vulnerable and high risk community members in a connected and cohesive manner.

WIT, which runs a homeless outreach service, has reported that they now have locals regularly donating to their service as a result of the campaign.

A complementary street management programme to help address antisocial behavior and low level criminal activity, with the support of Police, includes random security patrols in the CBD. In the three weeks since these patrols began there has been positive feedback from retailers, a reduction in complaints about anti-social behavior, and some of the people begging have asked the outreach service based at Clive Square for assistance, says Natasha Carswell, NCC Manager Community Strategies.

“We have been focussing on longer term solutions to homelessness and educating the community through our Helping Hands campaign and support for the outreach service, but at the same time it’s good to see our street management approach is also changing things for the better,” says Ms Carswell.

The random patrols are conducted by security officers who address any immediate issues with a chat and some advice. They can also issue trespass warnings and orders, if they come across people sleeping in or leaving unattended gear in specific areas, including the city’s parks and reserves. Over 30 businesses from the CBD and Marewa have asked that trespass warnings and orders be issued for their premises through the street management programme.

If notices are ignored, it becomes a police matter.

The officers are also regularly referring people to the Clive Square outreach service, which is funded by NCC, if they are wanting help to access housing or any other services. In the last month around nine rough sleepers have been housed through the service.

There are fortnightly reviews checking in on how the street management programme is working so that any modifications to any part of the programme can be made as quickly as possible.

The Helping Hands campaign will continue and will intensify during the summer season.

Advice for members of the public:

  • Give to legitimate agencies only – ‘give for good’ not for harm;
  • Contact the Police if feeling threatened or concerned for safety of yourself or others;
  • Contact WIT on team@witservices.co.nz and 06 835 2154;
  • Contact The Salvation Army on napier_corps@nzf.salvationarmy.org.nz and 06 844 4941;
  • Contact Napier Police on 06 831 0700.

14 August 2017

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