Think tank for homeless issue

From left, are Daniel Reinecke, Ian Flint, Lucinda Valentine and Clayton Laue.

A think tank session was held in Kenridge to develop a strategy to address the way people give handouts to the homeless.

GiveWise founder Lucinda Valentine facilitated the session at the Rose Garden hall on Saturday July 22.

The think tank follows a public meeting held last month to discuss concerns regarding the growing number of homeless people in the area. And while homeless people were a point of discussion, the issue of residents giving handouts was a contentious one (“Homeless coin it in Kenridge”, Northern News, June 29).

At the meeting residents appealed to the community to stop giving irresponsibly and said a coordinated approach was needed to address this issue.

Ms Valentine suggested holding a think tank to get plans into motion.

During the think tank, Ms Valentine looked at the issues which she said needed to be addressed, if progress was to be made.

The strengths identified included the pro-active Kenridge The Hills Ratepayers’ Association (KHRPA), neighbourhood watch, their social media presence and the resources available.

Clayton Laue, former operations manager of the Kenridge Neighbourhood Initiative (KNI), said the foundation had been laid between the two groups and that they were making strides with their sector WhatsApp groups and street groups which provides a platform for communication.

Inconsistency, unwise giving and apathy were named as the weaknesses.

Mr Laue said it was hard to get people involved and although he understood that people have busy lives – he feels as if they have lost the sense of community.

Ms Valentine said they needed to implement strategies that fits in with current trends and need to figure out what works for Kenridge in particular, which they will be able to establish through the think tank sessions.

The opportunities identified include educating the community on giving responsibly, helping the homeless with a hand-up and not a hand-out and bringing unity within Kenridge. The threats include human perceptions, unwise givers and people’s agendas.

KHRPA vice-chairman Ian Flint said people who continue to give irresponsibly were causing more harm than good and that it hampered rehabilitation efforts. He said the ratepayers had various campaigns running but needed to focus on priorities.

Daniel Reinecke, who heads the street people portfolio of the ratepayers’ association, questioned why there were so few residents present.

But Ms Valentine, said progress was being made when looking at the number of people who attended the first meeting in November last year (about 20) to June (about 50) and said people tend to only get involved when a campaign gains momentum.

For the next eight weeks the focus will be on getting a team together who will take on leadership roles aimed at implement various strategies.

Ms Valentine said there was a lot of work to be done over the next few weeks but was confident that they would get more residents on board.

The next think tank will be held in September. To get involved, email Mr Reinecke at daniel.reinecke@gmail.com