Dealing with the ‘pop up’ beggars

Tommy Wilson at the Greerton lunchtime meeting. Photo: Andrew Campbell.

They arrive in Greerton early in the mornings, change into their shabby begging clothes and sit down around town with their hands out.

Tommy Wilson called them ‘pop-up beggars’ other’s call them gangsters and feral beggars. They’re the cause of a lot of ‘war stories’

Tommy who is Te Tuinga Whanau executive director says they know who their usual homeless are, because they deal with them.

It was a public meeting attended by about 100 people with speakers including city councillor Terry Molloy, Jan Tinetti MP, and the woman who has her old job Greerton Village School principal Anne Mackintosh, plus Liz Kite from Under the Stars, the volunteer that feeds the homeless every Saturday night, helps operate a drop in centre and a half way house where she is bringing people in off the streets one or two at a time.

Retailers spoke of how their lives have been impacted over the last year by the changes in Greerton.

The consensus of the meeting is the Greerton community has to stop feeding the problem, and instead give to Te Tuinga Whanau or Liz Kite, people and agencies that are already working in the field, know their clients and how to deal with their issues.

“It’s not a new subject, I’ve been dealing with it for seven years,” says Tommy. “But we have a new demographic, ‘pop-up’ beggars.

“They have worked out you can pull in $200 a day by putting up a decent sort of sign. The problem happens when they get their money. They pool their resources and go into places like the Greerton School and Moreton Fox Park, and binge.

“Now we are having to put chains across the school, chains across the entrance to our work. Chains aren’t a symbol of a happy community, chains make me sad. Daisy chains are alright.”

The meeting provides a way to get past the war stories and work out as a community what they are going to do about it, says Tommy.

The crowd that turned up for yesterday’s meeting.

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Easy to throw stones

Posted on 14-04-2018 19:24 | By Sg1nz

Hey Marshall - rather than throwing stones. Why don’t you get involved. They are a large group of people and organisations trying to resolve this issue. Including council and councillors, like terry. Stop bagging the people trying to sort this out.

As usual...

Posted on 14-04-2018 12:51 | By morepork

... Tommy is bringing some sound common sense to a bad situation. The answer is for people to NOT donate and NOT be intimidated into doing so. Donate to the people working with the real poor and not the pop-up scroungers. If funds are cut off, there will be no point in pop-up begging.

Outside the square

Posted on 14-04-2018 12:42 | By Told you

Why cant a bylaw be passed to stop this begging in the streets,Im sure if it was deemed illegal to beg with jail time involved, it would stop this happening overnight.

golly gosh

Posted on 14-04-2018 11:37 | By old trucker

Gosh the Speaker must have had a LOUD HAILER to speak to this lot,Gosh $200 a day, WHERE IS WINZ on this SUBJECT, for crying out loud, this is unfair, its a Bl---dy DISGRACE them sitting there,those footpaths a FILTHY and SMELL when i was down there Friday morning,the Police were there and cannot do much about it,SURLEY they can be moved down Oripi rd to park, another THING WHY ARENT THEY WORKING just young guys hanging around, this makes me sick, gosh put me in CHARGE for a week and the PROBLEM would be gone,anyway my 2 bobs worth for what its worth today,Sunlive blew the others out of the park with the BEST NEWS AWESOME Thankyou, 10-4 out. phew.PS Agree with By Marshall good one im on your side well done.


Posted on 14-04-2018 10:58 | By Phillip R

Better plan is to get police to round them up every day and strip search them as if they are drug dealers. They will be gone in a week.

Here's a plan..

Posted on 14-04-2018 08:18 | By Marshal

Why don’t the council put as much effort into solving this problem, As they do into trying to get a Museum built, that most people don’t want LOL. !!