Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Damp sleeping bags, but not spirits

Damp sleeping bags, but not spirits; Lifewise’s 7th Big Sleepout raises critical funds to end homelessness

Last night, Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT) quad was home to 135 people for the night, at the seventh annual Lifewise Big Sleepout.

Business, community and political leaders received an insight into what it means to sleep rough, rewarded by donations from friends and family and raising funds to further Lifewise’s work in ending homelessness.

The main event of Lifewise’s fundraising calendar, the Big Sleepout’s goal was to raise $400,000. By breakfast, donations had reached over $313,000.

Having supported 113 people into housing in the year since the 2015 Big Sleepout, Lifewise are currently working with over 150 people in Auckland, aiming to get them into permanent housing and support them to live independently. However, they recognise that supporting this group alone won’t solve the issue.

“Homelessness is complex, and the solution requires a collaborative approach over a sustained period of time, with government, business and community all playing their part,” says Moira Lawler, Lifewise’s Chief Executive.

With homelessness rising, the demand for Lifewise’s services is growing, with an average of two new people make contact with Lifewise’s team every week.

“That’s why the funds raised through the Lifewise Big Sleepout are so critical,” says Moira. “It’s our biggest fundraising event, and without it, we couldn’t respond to the growing needs of our community. Even though we haven’t quite reached our target, we’re extremely grateful to those who supports us.”

The evening proved to be informative and thought-provoking, as participants were encouraged to think creatively and break down pre-conceived notions of what is an extremely complex issue.

“I’d love to see those involved in the Big Sleepout using their skills, knowledge and influence to get behind Lifewise’s Housing First initiative,” says Rob Smith, a former rough sleeper. “If we all collaborate, we can really make a difference and create a sustainable solution.”

Having slept rough for over a year, Rob managed to secure an apartment in Auckland Central, where he has been living since 2013. Now in a position to help others in similar situations, Rob works with Lifewise and its partner organisations on a project group to implement the Housing First model in Auckland.

Housing First is based on the belief that housing is a basic human right, has been hugely successful in the USA, Canada, across Europe and in Australia. The approach is simple; if you are sleeping rough, you need somewhere safe to live before anything else. Once you have a home, then you can make the best use of what support is available, such as health, cancelling and financial services.

Participants braved the rain and received an insight into Housing First’s Canadian founder Dr. Sam Tsemberis, the model’s Canadian founder, who delivered a video discussing the benefits of the model to New Zealand’s rough sleeping community.

“It was amazing to see people in positions of real influence make a concerted effort to fundraise and get involved last night,” Rob says. “Especially given that the weather really showed what rough sleepers can experience - they really got their money’s worth!”

Lifewise would like to acknowledge the commitment of their sponsors, including AUT, with whom they have an ongoing relationship. “Homelessness is a downward spiral of devastation,” says Sarah Trotman, Director of Business Relations at AUT’s Business School.

Sarah was on the steering group that established the Big Sleep Out in 2010, and has continued to support the project each year since, currently sitting as the second highest fundraiser. “Next time you see someone sleeping rough, give them a smile and encourage the same community spirit in your children too,” she says.

Donations to the Lifewise Big Sleepout will remain open until 5pm, Friday 15th July. By donating, you’ll be helping solve homelessness in an empowering and sustainable manner. Donate today at bigsleepout.org.nz/content/donate.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

PM Announces Royal Commission Into Christchurch Attacks

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that there will be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into security agencies following the Christchurch terrorist attacks... The inquiry will look at what could or should have been done to prevent the attack, Ms Ardern said. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ridding The Net Of White Supremacist Propaganda

Although it won’t be a walk in the park, gun law reform will be an easier job than neutralising the Internet hate content that (a) recruited the Christchurch shooter, and (b) confirmed him in his beliefs. More>>

Friday: National Remembrance Service

A National Remembrance Service for the victims of the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack, and all those affected by it, will be held at 10am on Friday 29 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced. More>>

For the Latest: Scoop Search - Christchurch

Gordon Campbell: On The School Climate Strike

Locally, the school strike has won a ton of support for bringing climate change to the fore. Yet the strikers don't want mere expressions of support. They want action. More>>


"Grabbed And Struck In The Face": Greens Co-Leader Attacked While Walking To Work

Green Party co-leader James Shaw was the victim of an unprovoked attack when he was walking to work in Wellington. More>>


████████ ████ ███: Latest OIA Statistics Released

The latest statistics cover 110 agencies that collectively completed 18,106 official information requests between July and December 2018, a 16.4% increase on the 15,551 requests for the previous six months. More>>


'Hit And Run' Inquiry: New Legal Action Over Secrecy

The lawyer representing the Afghan villagers in the inquiry into Operation Burnham has launched legal proceedings calling for a judicial review in the investigation. More>>


From Hydro Plan To...: Mokihinui River Land To Join Kahurangi National Park

A total of 64,400 hectares of conservation land in the Mokihinui River catchment on the West Coast north of Westport, including 15 km of riverbed, is being added to Kahurangi National Park. “Adding this area, roughly half the size of Auckland City, to Kahurangi is the largest addition of land to an existing national park in New Zealand’s history,” Eugenie Sage said. More>>





InfoPages News Channels