Alternative Giving to Stop Begging

2 July 2013

This week marks the start of a new campaign to help stop begging in Wellington City.

Woman holding a sign saying ‘Change is about more than a few coins’.

We’re asking the public to give their spare change to the Alternative Giving Fund instead of to people begging on the street. All donations will go to six organisations that support the city’s vulnerable residents. As well as providing basic needs such as food, clothing or transport, these services also help to provide sustainable solutions that prevent the need to beg.

The number of beggars on city streets has been on the rise over the past year and there have been concerns from the public and local businesses.

Jenny Rains, the Council’s Community Services Manager, says the campaign is about letting the public know how they can help make lasting changes in people’s lives.

“Many of us instinctively want to give money to people we see begging in the street, but this is a short-term fix at best.

“People tend to assume that all beggars are homeless but this isn’t the case. Some use begging to support drug or alcohol addictions, or to supplement a limited income. So it’s much better to give money to the organisations that can help people directly and in the long term.”

Other cities in the world have run similar campaigns that have been successful in helping to reduce begging, and we’ve adapted the idea to suit Wellington.

“We’ve got some great organisations doing terrific work in the city to get people off the street and help them to turn their lives around - get a good place to live or access to healthcare - and we’re working closely with these agencies and the Police,” Jenny says.

We are working with Massey University School of Design to develop other ways to give, but for now, people can donate using their smartphone.

There are posters up around the city with a QR code that links to a smartphone app. You’ll have the choice to donate to the Alternative Giving Fund, which splits your donation equally between six support organisations, or give to one of these organisations.

There’s also a short video about a Wellington man who’s gone from being homeless to a place of his own - the video is also on YouTube.

To make a donation: