Auckland homeless support providers are calling for a solutions-based approach when dealing with rough sleepers. Hurimoana Dennis and Debbie Munroe agree that criminalising homeless people for begging and sleeping in public is adding insult to injury.
The notion of criminalising homeless for sleeping and begging is ruffling some feathers.
Munroe says, "That bylaw is stupid. Are we going to waste more taxpayer money on arresting people because they don't have a house? I think their biggest issue is mental health. Many of them are battling with issues of mental health and well-being.”
Dennis says rough sleepers should be offered support.
“I strongly believe that this is an issue that should be addressed by district health boards. They are answerable as it is stated in the law.”
Munroe is acting as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff in Manurewa, she agrees with Dennis.
"It's crazy, don't get rid of the problem, solve the problem. I think the wrap-around services need to get out from behind their desk and get their nonos out on the street and start talking to these people."
There were a reported 40,000 New Zealanders without adequate shelter last year and Munroe suspects that number is growing.