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New initiatives to address homelessness

Auckland City Council
Media release

3 December 2008

New initiatives to address homelessness

Auckland City Council’s Community Services Committee today considered a number of proposed actions to respond to the homelessness issue in Auckland.

This follows a request from the committee in September asking officers to review the council’s existing Homeless Action Plan to include more ways to address and reduce the level of homelessness and anti-social behavioural issues in the central city, especially Queen Street.

The revised Homeless Action Plan builds on the previous one and includes two new areas of focus – working with others to respond to anti-social behaviour and moving people into long-term accommodation.

The first new area involves working with the Police and Ministry of Justice on the issue of those who revolve through the justice system and on to the street. The second involves working closely with other organisations to improve existing services to better focus on the transition of homeless people to permanent accommodation.

The council will also explore the development of a bylaw that addresses loitering, sleeping in doorways and begging in the CBD.

Chairperson of the Community Services Committee, Councillor Paul Goldsmith, says he welcomes  the progress made with the Homeless Action Plan 2005-2008, which saw significant collaboration with central, local and non-government agencies in Auckland and resulted in noticeable improvements in the way services work together.

“Homelessness is a complex issue that requires a different types of support from various groups. We are committed to continuing our work with other groups to reach a long-term solution.

“However, the need to address the homelessness and anti-social behaviour issues in the central city in the short-term is still concerning and we will be investigating whether further progress can be made through a bylaw.

“Currently the community has no means to compel someone sleeping on a mattress in Queen Street in the middle of the day to pick up his or her mattress and leave. A bylaw may be a tool to enable the community to make that reasonable request,” he says.

The remaining work strands of the revised Homeless Action Plan include Auckland City Council’s support of outreach services, its proactive involvement in leadership and public awareness and the management of the homeless in public spaces.


Ends

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