Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rough sleepers and beggars causing issues in Greerton

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Tauranga homeless are being blamed for causing problems in Greerton. Photo/file
Tauranga homeless are being blamed for causing problems in Greerton. Photo/file

A group of homeless men have been blamed for causing problems in Greerton.

At yesterday's Tauranga City Council Monitoring Committee meeting, Greerton Village Community Association manager Sally Benning was asked by Councillor Bill Grainger about homeless issues at Greerton Hall.

Mrs Benning said the problems had increased since she started working for the association last October.

"Largely it is three or four gentlemen who are known to ourselves and to the police," Mrs Benning said.

"It's very rare that a week goes by now that I'm not in touch with the police about those guys, either sleeping in the alcove of the hall or drinking alcohol in public places, and it is an alcohol-free zone."

Mrs Benning said police had trespassed one of the men on two occasions in the last six weeks. Since then, Mrs Benning said she personally had not seen those men and she was not sure whether they had relocated, but said it was possible they would resurface.

She was concerned about the impact this was having on local businesses.

Another issue was an organisation, which Mrs Benning did not name, that "with very good intentions" was feeding the hungry and homeless outside a Greerton business on Friday nights.

"They have good intentions, but I don't believe it is the right place for that. We don't want to be the people to knock them for doing what they are doing, but the location they are using is next to a takeaway restaurant two doors away and there's another business there that's opening in the evenings.

"There are a couple of businesses in that block of shops that are making noises about not renewing leases because of those people in the streets."

There were two regular beggars that frequented Greerton footpaths, which police could not do anything about, Mrs Benning said.

"These sorts of things are just not a good look. The biggest issue around the guys sleeping rough is that they are all drinking and often on a Monday morning, I have to put rubber gloves on and collect the debris.

"It is becoming a bit of a problem."

Cr Bev Edlin asked Mount Mainstreet manager Ingrid Fleming about homeless problems in Mount Maunganui.

Mrs Fleming said it did not appear to be a major issue, with an estimated one report every fortnight.

She said there had been an issue at Coronation Park where mattresses were left at the park where children were playing.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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