Even the people helping the homeless are telling you not to give them money

via RNZ, file, not related to this story

Christchurch social services are warning people not to give money to an increasing number of street beggars, most of them not genuinely homeless and “making a jolly good living out of it”.

A recent street count found 215 people were sleeping rough in Christchurch, some as young as 12 with addiction issues choosing to sleep in the streets.

Christchurch City Mission chief executive Matthew Mark said the number of people sleeping in the streets had stayed stable over the last few years, but the number of beggars had increased.

People should not give beggars money as most of them were not homeless and the money fuelled their alcohol or drug addiction, he said.

Tom Moke tries to keep a positive attitude despite having lived on the street for several years.

“If your heart is moved for them, talk to an agency like ourselves . . . We know the people who are on the street, we know the ones who are sincere and the ones who are pulling your leg.”

He said city missioners had watched one man collect about $60 within 15 minutes.

Christchurch streetie Tom Moke was sitting with a sign and a box to collect money in the retail precinct on Colombo St on Sunday.

He had a sleeping bag, a bottle of water and a backpack by his side and greeted passersby with a smile.

He said he had been homeless since his house was red-zoned after the February 2011 earthquake and he lost his shearing and forestry job following health problems.

He slept rough most nights as he had been trespassed from the City Mission’s shelter after getting into a fight.

Moke said he used the money collected on the street to buy meat, eggs, bread, butter, clothes and food for his two dogs. He cooked the food at a public barbecue at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground.

He agreed not all street beggars were homeless.

“Some of the ones that have homes are really struggling, that’s why they’re doing it. They wait until their kids are at school and then they come here. They’re doing it to provide for their kids.”

But some used the money to buy alcohol and synthetic cannabis, and could become aggressive and messy, he said.

A recent Christchurch City Council and City Mission street count found 172 men and 43 women did not have a roof over their head, Mark said.

Several youth under 15 had been counted. They chose to live in the street because their homes were unsafe or because of addiction issues, which was a “sad indictment on our society”.

Mark said mental health and addiction were the biggest issues for rough sleepers.

Nothing new there.  Mental health, addiction and con artists.  None of those people deserve your money.   Next time someone asks you for some, tell them that there is no help in your pockets and that they know where to get what they need to get off the streets.


– Stuff

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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