Concerns over displaced rough sleepers

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A South Auckland community service provider is concerned over the displacement of local rough sleepers from a park.

This follows the release of the Auckland's Homeless Count findings that will look at policies to end homelessness.

Friendship House is a refuge that offers warmth and food to local rough sleepers.

However, this week there's been a push by police to move rough sleepers from Hayman Park after complaints were received from the public and local businesses.

“I don't think that people should be moved along,” says CEO Neil Denney.

“People should be able to be where they feel safe, where they feel comfortable and where they can be supported.”

Yesterday Auckland Council released their homelessness survey findings.  However, Denney says homeless people's needs are being ignored.

“Yesterday we were told that homeless people had been trespassed from the plaza for 24 hours,” he says, “And it was odd because it was World Homeless Day and we had to go and find some homeless people to come along to our homeless day.”

For years Hayman Park has been a refuge for many rough sleepers.  However, although they've been moved on, there are options.

“We have been told and this is coming from our rough sleepers that they have been given the option of going down to Puhinui Park down the other side of Manukau and that they won't be troubled down there if they stay down there.”

Police and other agencies will work together to find more permanent housing solutions.