A business group wants no repeat of the "trial" project that allowed rough sleepers to escape the worst of the winter chill and be housed overnight at the new Manukau Bus Station.

Last night marked the end of the month-long trial run by Auckland Transport with the support of the Salvation Army. The transport organisation said on average 10 people slept in the station each night.

It hasn't decided whether it will repeat the project next winter.

One major positive action that came from this was that when other community organisations such as churches saw this was working, they opened their own doors.

However, Business Manukau general manager Kerry Burridge is urging against a re-run.


She said it had attracted more homeless people to the area and this had led to an increase in related anti-social behaviour, such as people relieving themselves on streets and begging for money.

"They are standing outside shops where there is a lot of foot traffic. It's intimidating for shop owners and staff, and the public."

"We would prefer people to be housed. We are working on that."

An Auckland Transport spokesman said the organisation took on board the business group's views.

"It comes down to the fact that two people died sleeping on the streets last year. The Salvation Army put out a call for community organisations to prevent that from happening again. This was always a trial to see if this works or if it didn't. It's something we will learn from.

"We couldn't stand by and do nothing when there were already people sleeping outside the bus station before we started this trial."

AT public affairs manager Wally Thomas said it had looked at running the trial until the end of August, but had ended it several days earlier because it was managed by Salvation Army volunteers and AT staff giving their own time.

"It's been hard to sustain the volunteer staffing."


Asked if there had been any other difficulties with the trial, he said only one: a young man became abusive and was given a trespass warning after he was kicked out for smoking in the toilets.

The trial involved giving people a meal at about 10.30pm, setting up beds for them inside the station and providing breakfast at 6am, when the beds were removed so the bus station could resume normal duties.

The Salvation Army arranged the food and bedding, and any social services and medical assistance that were required.

Auckland Council member Alf Filipaina said the scheme had been "a huge success".

"... I hope that other community organisations and corporates will consider opening their doors to make a difference. The people of South Auckland … have opened their hearts to the rough sleepers in our community and have shown incredible support to this initiative."

Andrew Walker, of the Salvation Army, said the trial wasn't designed to solve homelessness; it was simply to provide respite in the coldest part of winter.

"One major positive action that came from this was that when other community organisations such as churches saw this was working, they opened their own doors. They realised there was nothing to be afraid of; only good could come from helping those in need."