Big Issue-style street magazine for Wellington's homeless to launch next month
Wellington is set to have its own version of London's The Big Issue, with a monthly magazine being launched to help the homeless and those surviving on the streets.
Regenerate is modelled on The Big Issue, a magazine bought by homeless people and then on-sold for a profit, which is sold in Britain, Australia and parts of Africa and Asia.
IT project manager Simon Dodd is behind the idea, and was inspired to act after being appalled at the amount of homeless people he saw on Wellington's streets during his early morning walks to the gym.
Dodd has assembled a team of volunteer writers and editorial staff, and said the magazine was already creating a buzz from those living on the streets, and those hoping to contribute.
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"I don't think it fits well with anyone to walk past a homeless person. We hope it will enable people to work and provide opportunities for those less fortunate," he said.
Dodd and his team would supply homeless people with two free magazines to start with, which they could sell for $5 each. After that, they could buy further copies for $2.50, to sell for $5.
"People are able to make $80 before their benefit is impacted. This will hopefully give people the opportunity of having a part-time job, or fulltime employment," Dodd said.
Editor Nathan Frost said Regenerate would launch in November, and initially focus on Wellington arts and culture, with content written by journalists, writers, homeless and street people, and anyone else wishing to contribute.
He did not want the publication to become mired in a political agenda, as the magazine was more of a pragmatic response, based on a proven model.
"There's a marked difference in someone hustling for money or begging for dollars, as opposed to someone who's an entrepeneur and street vendor," Frost said.
Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the council was aware of Regenerate, and knew about the Big Issue business model overseas.
Concerns had been raised about aggressive selling, also known as "chugging" or charity mugging, putting people off.
"We"re keeping an open mind, but the council is just thinking out loud about whether it might just add to the hassle factor on the street.
"Some people don't like being propositioned in the street. It will be interesting to see how it turns out."