Police find only two beggars on Hamilton streets are homeless

Beggars bring props such pets and bags to attract public sympathy. File photo / Getty Images
Beggars bring props such pets and bags to attract public sympathy. File photo / Getty Images

A weekend police survey in Hamilton discovered only two beggars were actually homeless and the others were bringing props and even dogs to help them appear poor.

The survey found only two of the 15 beggars were homeless.

The remaining 13 had brought duvet covers, cardboard signs and even sickly looking pets to give the impression they were living on the streets.

The city's business community has called for change after beggars have been harassing or intimidating residents, according to TVNZ.

The general manager of Hamilton Central Business Association Sandy Turner said a new campaign was aimed at helping the homeless while it was only a "moderate" problem.

Hamilton is rolling out a campaign to discourage residents from giving to beggars. File photo / Getty Images
Hamilton is rolling out a campaign to discourage residents from giving to beggars. File photo / Getty Images

"People feel intimidated if they see people that look vulnerable on the streets or perhaps even a little bit scary or uncomfortable on the streets," she told One News.

"We don't want to get to the point that Auckland has got to where you're literally stepping over people in the street."

The campaign will roll out posters and information around the city with information telling residents giving to beggars may not be helping.

The campaign aims to educate public "about the challenges with giving money and the best ways to support people to get the appropriate help".

Hamilton has services available to help homeless people. File photo / Getty Images
Hamilton has services available to help homeless people. File photo / Getty Images

Turner said not giving to beggars directly doesn't mean you are ignoring them as facilities were readily available for the most vulnerable.

"We have hot meals available every day. We have emergency housing, long-term permanent housing options available," she said.

"We can support that person immediately, so you don't have to feel that you're ignoring the problem as a caring citizen."

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 10 Dec 2016 05:01:41 Processing Time: 420ms