Homelessness 'can't be ignored'

By Zaryd Wilson

1 comment
Rangitikei District councillor Lynne Sheridan
Rangitikei District councillor Lynne Sheridan

Two Bulls leaders have raised concerns about homelessness in the town.

The bus stop which gave the town a transient nature was part of the problem and a multi-agency approach has been called for.

Bulls and District Community Trust chair Jo Rangooni and community manager Jan Harris raised the concerns at a Rangitikei District Council meeting yesterday.

"Homelessness is an issue for businesses and particularly your staff," Mrs Rangooni told councillors.

"I think you need to be aware there is homelessness ... this is a complex issue, and I think people need your support."

Mrs Harris said there were a number of reasons people ended up stranded in Bulls with no money and she had helped people out with money while a local cafe had fed one man.

"It's much easier to get them on their way to the next part of their journey rather than having them hang around for days and days."

There were two known homeless men in Bulls at the moment and people had been known to sleep at the information centre.

"These guys are causing no problem within the community. It's just that it's there. It's in your face and I just can't ignore it. It can't be ignored," Mrs Harris said.

She had discussed the issue with police and wanted as many agencies as possible to get on the same page and come up with a solution.

Councillor Lynne Sheridan said she was "completely unaware" of the issue.

"I'm just staggered that this actually exists in the district," she said.

"We have a policy for a safe and caring community where this council says it will work with groups ... looking after vulnerable members in the community and I just don't know where this has been missed."

Councillor Cath Ash said homelessness had been an issue in Marton a few years back and Christian Welfare helped out at the time.

Mayor Andy Watson said it was something that had surfaced over the years.

"We certainly will liaise with authorities," he said. "We don't want to see staff spending money out of their own pocket to move people on, but ultimately that's a personal thing."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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