Feeding hungry homeless spells trouble, say firms

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 03/06/2014
claire chapman
Nick Reed/Fairfax NZ
PERMANENT FIXTURE: Hamilton Homeless organiser Claire Chapman wants to serve food to the homeless and poor in Garden Place every night.

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A group with links to a prominent white supremacist wants to feed the city's poor and homeless in Garden Place on a permanent basis.

Hamilton City Council is processing a permit application by Hamilton Homeless asking approval to serve food every night in Garden Place from 5.30 to 7.30.

The application has alarmed some Garden Place businesses concerned about a possible rise in anti-social behaviour if the application is approved.

Hamilton Homeless was previously warned not to serve food in Garden Place and other sites around the city after it was found operating in a public space without a permit.

An internal council memo sent to elected members from staff said the council was in talks with businesses within Garden Place to gain feedback on the latest proposal. Staff described the application as "unusual" as the council generally processed applications for one-off events in Garden Place.

A decision was expected to be made this week.

In April the Waikato Times revealed Hamilton Homeless organiser Claire Chapman was the wife of white supremacist Kyle Chapman.

Kyle Chapman, the former leader of the National Front and founder of Right Wing Resistance, is the funding co-ordinator and organises meals on Thursday nights for Hamilton Homeless.

Steven Ov, owner of Ronnie's cafe on Victoria St, south of Garden Place, said anti-social behaviour could increase in the inner city if Hamilton Homeless' application was approved.

Ov said homeless men had fought outside his cafe in the past.

Up to 70 people gather for Hamilton Homeless' free meals.

The council memo said Hamilton Homeless was currently operating out of 35b Seddon Rd without the necessary resource consent. Discussions were under way between council and the site's property manager and land owners.

The Times was unable to contact Claire Chapman for comment.

Friends Joanna Bundgen, Charlotte August and Sibylle Pliessnig, visiting Hamilton from Tauranga, said they would not be put off visiting Garden Place if homeless people gathered there.

"It's normal for people to have to eat and if they can't afford it then what should they do? People have to eat," Bundgen said.

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- Waikato Times

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