PNCC City Safety Co-ordinator Lane Nilsen says there has been a small increase in the number of beggars on the streets of the Central Business District this holiday season, asking for contributions from Christmas shoppers.
But she is urging the public to think twice.
"Palmerston North has a large number of social agencies looking out for the most disadvantaged and we think the best way for people to show their generosity is to give through these known charities rather than to the beggars directly."
The City has been running a "Give Wisely" campaign for the past three years.
"Beggars in Palmerston North have been interviewed by Police and me and their needs have been assessed," says Lane Nilsen.
Many of our beggars are receiving help from mental health services and find it difficult to fit into mainstream living. Some choose to live on the street even when accommodation is available.
She says the average beggar receives a WINZ entitlement, has a place to live and has access to support agencies to help them with their wider needs.
"Some may offer stories about needing money for food and accommodation, some may say they have sick relatives they are looking after or need to travel to see. These stories may not be true."
Lane Nilsen says when you give to a known charity; your money stays locally and is used to help those who need it most.
"Places such as The Luck Venue, who give out hot meals, clothing, support and showers, The Salvation Army and Shepherd's Rest who provide accommodation, Manawatu Supporting Families who offer a range of services and support and The Food Bank, all give directly to help those in need."