Community Scoop

People sleeping rough in Christchurch city centre

Press Release – Christchurch City Council

A multi-agency approach is being planned to address the issues caused by the growing numbers of people living and begging on Christchurchs central city streets.People sleeping rough in city centre prompt multi-agency response

A multi-agency approach is being planned to address the issues caused by the growing numbers of people living and begging on Christchurch’s central city streets.

Representatives from Christchurch City Council, the Central City Business Association, the Police, the Christchurch City Mission and other social and health agencies have been working together on how to address the problem.

“As a Council we have received calls from the public and central city businesses raising concerns about the impact people begging and living rough on the streets are having on the central city and people’s perceptions of it,’’ says Christchurch City Councillor Anne Galloway, who is Chair of Safer Christchurch.

“No one agency alone can address this problem. It requires a multi-agency, multi-pronged approach because many of those living on the streets have complex needs and are going to require a lot of support in order to be able to deal with their issues and maintain stable accommodation.’’

Christchurch Police Metro Area Commander, Superintendent Lane Todd, says he will be committing more officers to the central city within the next three to six months to help address the issues with people begging and sleeping rough.

“We’re going to increase our foot patrols and have a dedicated team in the central city,’’ Superintendent Todd says.

“Our intent is to work closely with the Council and other agencies to look for positive resolutions with sustainable outcomes rather than just a straight enforcement approach.’’

The Council is looking to partner with the Christchurch City Mission to support a social work outreach service.

Christchurch City Missioner Matthew Mark says the plan is to have the two outreach social workers on the ground in the central city, building relationships with those sleeping rough or begging.

“The outreach workers will be able to help those in need access the services and the support they need to make positive changes in their lives.

“I think it is a fantastic initiative and I am glad that the Council is looking to partner with us in addressing what is a growing social issue,’’ Mr Mark says.

A report on how the Council can support the outreach social work service will be considered by the Mayor and Councillors on Thursday.

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