Empathy and assistance required — not evictions

LETTER

Re: Homeless camp disbanded, February 5 story.

You know you’ve got it tough when you aren’t even allowed to beg for help and seek shelter under a bridge.

Is the problem really with the beggars or is it, in fact, with the world they live in? Read again the line, “they can live in houses if they choose to” — that says a lot, doesn’t it? Think, how difficult must life be if they choose homelessness; that sleeping out in the cold and being hassled by the council is a more attractive home than whatever they faced indoors.

Drugs addiction, mental health issues and domestic abuse is the poison. To fix this, our antidote needs to be empathy and assistance — not anger and evictions.

Jack Marshall

I have seen homeless people around the world, I never thought it would happen here, it has.

The old police station from where people have been evicted could, with vision, imagination and leadership, accommodate all of the homeless people in Gisborne. That that building is vacant while people are thrown on to the street can only lead to unhappiness and destitution.

While that is happening, other people are becoming obscenely rich due to the unfair tax system. Rogernomics did away with capital gains tax and reduced the income tax on the wealthy. He also introduced a then 10 percent GST tax, which proportionately taxes the poor a lot more than the rich.

While the so-called capitalists bask in their ill-gotten gains, the poor are driven to desperation. Prison is an option worth considering. They will be well fed and kept warm. The trick is to commit a crime that keeps them inside just for the winter.

Both the tax dodgers and the homeless are a blight on our society. It could be fixed, but no one is bold enough to put their hand up, so the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to widen.

Once upon a time, the French invented the guillotine. Be careful you fat cats.

Donald Gordon

Re: Homeless camp disbanded, February 5 story.

You know you’ve got it tough when you aren’t even allowed to beg for help and seek shelter under a bridge.

Is the problem really with the beggars or is it, in fact, with the world they live in? Read again the line, “they can live in houses if they choose to” — that says a lot, doesn’t it? Think, how difficult must life be if they choose homelessness; that sleeping out in the cold and being hassled by the council is a more attractive home than whatever they faced indoors.

Drugs addiction, mental health issues and domestic abuse is the poison. To fix this, our antidote needs to be empathy and assistance — not anger and evictions.

Jack Marshall

I have seen homeless people around the world, I never thought it would happen here, it has.

The old police station from where people have been evicted could, with vision, imagination and leadership, accommodate all of the homeless people in Gisborne. That that building is vacant while people are thrown on to the street can only lead to unhappiness and destitution.

While that is happening, other people are becoming obscenely rich due to the unfair tax system. Rogernomics did away with capital gains tax and reduced the income tax on the wealthy. He also introduced a then 10 percent GST tax, which proportionately taxes the poor a lot more than the rich.

While the so-called capitalists bask in their ill-gotten gains, the poor are driven to desperation. Prison is an option worth considering. They will be well fed and kept warm. The trick is to commit a crime that keeps them inside just for the winter.

Both the tax dodgers and the homeless are a blight on our society. It could be fixed, but no one is bold enough to put their hand up, so the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to widen.

Once upon a time, the French invented the guillotine. Be careful you fat cats.

Donald Gordon

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G R W ebb - 12 days ago
so Jack, what have you offered to do?

Lara Meyer - 11 days ago
Whilst at Byron Bay this week, I walked by the local shelter which is set up on one of the main streets in the shopping precinct. They serve food for the people who are either homeless, have mental health issues or are self medicating for whatever reason. It is shady and clean. An oasis from the consumerism on the streets around.

There were delicious smells wafting out the gates from the good cooking. A few people were enjoying their meals with their friends either sitting on the sidewalk outside or inside at tables. One woman was sleeping off the effects of a bender on the sidewalk but she was harming no one. There were plenty of backpackers and tourists inside enjoying the same good food but paying a bit for their meals.

The food smelt so good, I was tempted to go in and buy a meal. I wish I had because the memory of the aroma has stayed with me all week!

What if Gisborne had a place like that too? Cool and shady in summer, cooking wholesome flavoursome food for all. Serving meals to those who need it subsidised by those of us who can afford to pay a few bucks for a good meal.
We have an abundance of food in our neck of the woods that could be turned into some good nosh.
What if the old police station was set up purposely to offer a safe night's sleep?
I have time to volunteer and I am sure plenty of others might want to pitch in too. My cooking skills are not great but I can clean and wash with the best of 'em!

Evicting people from under the bridge was a sound decision in my opinion, made for hygiene and safety reasons. We need to remember that the dwellers are part of our community. People less fortunate in their life circumstances deserve respect too.

JustaBlowin - 11 days ago
I agree with Jack and Donald's views on the rising homeless situation facing Gisborne. I have only lived in Gisborne for three years and aside from the beautiful place that it is to live, in terms of lifestyle, housing affordability and so on, it has a very poor social support infrastructure. Yet it has some of the highest rates of drug addiction, child poverty, family violence and mental health issues in the country. Then set these statistics as the foundation to a region that is growing at pace in the primary industry sectors of forestry, farming, horticulture. So the powers-that-be roll into town with all their fanfare to announce hundreds of millions of dollars are coming here. Yay! I thought maybe we'll get some better social services infrastructure here. A residential drug and alcohol rehab facility would be a fantastic start. Sadly, no, almost all that money is going into roading. The only people cheering that injection of capital are the fat cats. Unless of course there's room allocated for poor and homeless along the fabulous new roads? I'm sure they won't complain about the traffic noise or the potholes etc.
Time to wake up Gisborne and look after your most vulnerable.

G R Webb - 11 days ago
Ms Meyer, I suggest there is no such need here. The report on the evictions noted that only three of them have nowhere else to go. The others can live in houses if they choose to but they choose not to.

The report also says the homeless choose not to take advantage of what a trust supporting people with mental health issues has to offer, that they had been given plenty of opportunities to find a permanent home and they have burned those bridges.

Set up such a shelter here and you create a need for something that never existed or is otherwise satisfied.

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