White power activist feeds homeless
The organiser of a group taking donations from the public to feed Hamilton's needy has defended the involvement of her husband - white supremacist Kyle Chapman.
Hamilton Homeless organiser Claire Chapman says there is no connection between her organisation and the white pride group, Right Wing Resistance (RWR), that Kyle Chapman is director and founder of.
"My husband, his interests aren't my interests; however, my interests are his interests," Chapman said.
"Kyle is helpful and feeds the homeless every night he can."
Kyle Chapman, the former leader of the National Front, is the funding co-ordinator and organises meals on Thursday nights for Hamilton Homeless, an unregistered charity.
The contact number listed for Kyle Chapman on Hamilton Homeless' Facebook page is also the number for the headquarters of RWR.
Hamilton Homeless feeds about 60-70 people each night and has a pool of about 100 volunteers to call on.
But the group's connection with the white pride group has raised questions among at least two well-established Hamilton social service agencies.
St Vincent de Paul Hamilton manager Mike Rolton said a number of things didn't seem to add up about Hamilton Homeless' story.
Rolton said he had been approached by Claire Chapman for help, but felt uncomfortable about what she had told him.
"I asked what do they do with the money they collect, because you're not a charitable trust," Rolton said.
"She told me it went into her husband's trust account."
Claire Chapman said that was incorrect.
"Hamilton Homeless is umbrellaed under Kyle's trust, so it has nothing to do with his primary purpose of his own interest, which is the Canterbury projects that he has."
Kyle Chapman has led white pride marches in Christchurch and run for mayor in the past.
Catherine Hodges, director at Methodist City Action, was also concerned.
"There's a lot of generosity with the public and you want to make sure it is going to the place they say it is."
Claire Chapman said she asked her husband to be the funding co-ordinator because he was "good at organising people".
She challenged critics to attend a meal in order to get a better understanding of the group.
"Unless you're involved in the organisation, you can't be fully aware of what is going on."
She said fundraising was used to pay for rent for their new premises on Seddon Rd, the costs associated with picking up food donations and paying for food and clothes.
Kyle Chapman said the criticism of Hamilton Homeless was unfounded.
"The fact that people want to put holes in a charity because of politics shows that they are actually of low character," he said. "They are trying to stop the good work because they have a bee in their bonnet about me."
He said his volunteer work, and the use of donated money, was above board.
"All of it gets spent as we go for the food and property and the van we are paying off."
Hamilton Homeless started feeding people in Garden Place about two months ago until it was booted out by Hamilton City Council late last month.
After that the group was forced to dish up out of parking lots and parks.
The council was concerned the group were operating without the necessary permit.