Police move on city homeless

HOMELESS: Five men without a home had to leave the old police station building on the corner of Peel Street and Childers Road earlier this week. One of the men is pictured walking down Peel Street. Picture supplied

Some of Gisborne’s homeless community have been shifted out of the old police station again.

The five homeless men were moved on by Gisborne police on Tuesday afternoon.

Gutted about losing their shelter, the men shuffled off with their meagre belongings and gathered outside the nearby church.

One of the men, Len Kaui, said he did not know where they would all sleep now.

“The cop told us we could sleep in the doorway of the church but not inside the old police station.”

He was living on the streets because he could not live with family, he said.

“It was too hard. I get my sickness benefit and I can have a shower at the council for $3 and I can use the public toilets. It is sad that I need to find some shelter.”

He would try to find something under a bridge or at Kaiti Beach.

An injury prevented him from working, he said.

Police youth services Senior Constable Bruce Amai was returning from the airport on Tuesday afternoon when he saw a person unbolt the gate which leads into the old police station from Childers Road.

“I went inside to check on the situation and found five men living there.

“I then advised them that they were trespassing and that they were to leave, and a short time later all five left without incident.”

Senior Constable Amai then advised the building owners, Rongowhakaata.

A member of the police communications team said while he didn’t have any details, he could say that, where appropriate, police would engage partner agencies when being called to an event involving vulnerable people.

Some of Gisborne’s homeless community have been shifted out of the old police station again.

The five homeless men were moved on by Gisborne police on Tuesday afternoon.

Gutted about losing their shelter, the men shuffled off with their meagre belongings and gathered outside the nearby church.

One of the men, Len Kaui, said he did not know where they would all sleep now.

“The cop told us we could sleep in the doorway of the church but not inside the old police station.”

He was living on the streets because he could not live with family, he said.

“It was too hard. I get my sickness benefit and I can have a shower at the council for $3 and I can use the public toilets. It is sad that I need to find some shelter.”

He would try to find something under a bridge or at Kaiti Beach.

An injury prevented him from working, he said.

Police youth services Senior Constable Bruce Amai was returning from the airport on Tuesday afternoon when he saw a person unbolt the gate which leads into the old police station from Childers Road.

“I went inside to check on the situation and found five men living there.

“I then advised them that they were trespassing and that they were to leave, and a short time later all five left without incident.”

Senior Constable Amai then advised the building owners, Rongowhakaata.

A member of the police communications team said while he didn’t have any details, he could say that, where appropriate, police would engage partner agencies when being called to an event involving vulnerable people.

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Ngaire Aben - 3 months ago
The homelessness situation is shameful for a country like New Zealand. Government and the elected MP, local government/councils and iwi authorities - all who have funding streams, need to step up and support our people. Not in your backyard, on your door step, or in your community - out of sight, out of mind. SHAMEFUL. As a Maori, I ask why don't our marae open the doors, our churches, our community halls - places that are dry, warm (not outside), and standing empty when not in use. Come on New Zealand, put aside your judgements, have some empathy and compassion. It's so easy to form an opinion on no information. We need to act, not close the curtains, sit in our warm houses and say 'It's their fault' - how do you know that, how do you come to that assumption? I come from a place of knowing, not experience, but none the less concerning.

John P Mcvey - 3 months ago
Yes, I agree with you Ngaire. It is not good enough. Why can't these people still use the old police station? It is sitting empty. Perhaps they could do some work around the place, or community work, to help cover costs.
We need a homeless shelter in Gisborne. Why not the old police station?
It's getting harder and harder for our people in Gisborne who find themselves homeless - many times through no fault of their own.
I think as a community here in Gisborne we need to come up with a plan for a shelter.

Versutus - 3 months ago
Ngaire and John, I hesitate to call you naive and perhaps your compassion has overridden your common sense, but this has all been covered before in this paper. Please Google this issue and see what has been discussed before.The issue of the old Police Station is a non-starter. This would leave the trust liable if they knowingly allowed people to stay there and someone got hurt. They would have no insurance to cover the damage that has been caused so far, and will be caused by the "homeless". Further, it has been pointed out before, many of these people choose not comply with simple rules about drugs and alcohol, and have said they would rather sleep rough than comply. This all may seem tough but it is reality. If you make the effort to mix and talk with them you will see for yourself.

Charmaine Fouhy - 3 months ago
It would appear that drug and alcohol addiction (illness) is the main driver for the many homeless in our city. Sadly, the lack of adequate residential rehabilitation services in our area means we will only see a rise in these issues.
Is the health funding in Tairawhiti inadequate to cover these issues? Or is it the way it is being utilised that is inadequate? Are any other health issues treated with this distain and disgust?
We have just witnessed our country's compassion and outrage at the attack on a marginalised group of our citizens, and rightly so. We are one, we are accepting of differences, we are quick to help. It makes me proud to be a Kiwi at times like this, but alas not all the time. "Know me before you judge me" is a wonderful quote. So, as a community, "Let's walk the talk".
I also have the courage to put my name to my opinions. If you can't stand the heat then don't put your kai in the pot, because it will be stirred by others!!

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