Beggars with homes still need help, says Auckland City Mission

Morning Talk 12/07/2018
Photo: Unsplash.

The Auckland City Mission says People should still be compassionate to those begging on the street after it was revealed not everyone asking for money was homeless.

A group of men spoke to Stuff about why they begged and revealed two of them did not sleep rough, but could make $100 in a day on the street.

Auckland City Mission general manager of social services Helen Robinson told Mark Sainsbury there is a common theme of poverty regardless of whether somebody is rough sleeping or begging before going home.

"The story was a very good description of the reality that people are struggling with and engaging with on a day to day basis," she said.

"Overwhelmingly, whether somebody is rough sleeping or their best option is begging, the reality of poverty is a common thread that weaves all of that together."

Ms Robinson said seeing people sleeping rough or begging on the street forces the public to face the difficult parts of society like mental and physical health, drug addiction and poverty.

It's not currently known the precise number of rough sleepers or beggars in Auckland central and Ms Robinson praised a recent announcement that Auckland Council would try and count the population.

She wouldn't say people shouldn't give money to beggars, instead saying the public should work to genuinely connect with people on the street.

"I would always encourage people to genuinely talk to and connect with people who are rough sleeping and begging if they so wish," she said.

Speaking with people on the street was a great way to help people and perhaps overcome the feeling of invisibility many rough sleepers tell the City Mission exists.

Alongside that, people can also donate to organisations like the City Mission or Lifewise who work to support people on the street.

Listen to the full interview with Helen Robinson above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.