Brown Presses For Payment Points To Tackle Homelessness
Alliance Councillor Patrick Brown is pushing for an innovative approach to tackle homelessness by introducing contactless donation pay points across the district.
The motion he introduced on 1st November 2021 to Newry Mourne and Down District Council read:
‘Given the continued high homelessness rates in the District and the rise in cashless transactions, this council commits to installing a number of contactless payment stations in main urban areas across the District which can gather donations for homelessness charities based in the District to distribute to those most in need.’
After council officers were given time to consider the motion, it was brought to last month’s Strategic Policy and Resources (SPR) committee for discussion. Cllr. Brown, speaking to council, talked of the impact of the pandemic on people experiencing homelessness, saying: ‘We live in an increasingly cashless society, with so many transactions now contactless.
“We need to make sure that this change doesn’t cause even more harm to people who depend on cash donations, particularly given the concerning rise in homelessness across the district in recent years. The economic impact of the pandemic has severely impacted both those who need support, and the ability of charities to provide the help needed.”
Cllr Brown added: “Contactless donation points have been incredibly successful in many places across the UK, and we aim to roll these out in our area to tackle homelessness across the district.
“Council can then gather a list of local charities who work with the homeless and with rough sleepers, and identify suitable places in urban areas to install contactless donation points.
“I believe by using central locations such as Hill Street in Newry and Millenium Square in Downpatrick, and incorporating donation points into existing infrastructure such as ATMs, we can maximise donations.
“We will liaise with other places where the scheme has been trialled to make sure we get the best returns possible for charities. The scheme allows people to give in easy, convenient ways to those who need it most.”
As a result of Cllr Brown’s motion, Councillors agreed at the SPR committee meeting to explore the idea further with council officers providing more information, and will now establish the cost of providing contactless payment points and which charities might benefit from the money they raise. A further paper will be brought back to the SPR committee at a later stage.