Emergency shelter offers immediate relief to homeless
Wednesday 5 June 2019
Emergency shelter offers immediate relief to Auckland’s homeless
A transformed James Liston Hostel opened its doors this evening, providing immediate relief to Auckland’s homeless just as winter sets in.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff opened the upgraded facility on Howe Street in Auckland’s city centre alongside James Liston Hostel trustee and former Auckland City Missioner, Dame Diane Robertson.
Auckland Council contributed $2 million from the city centre targeted rate to the $5 million project - the first major renovation of the Hostel since it was built in the 1970s. The grant was awarded based on recognition by the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board of the facility’s vital role within the local community.
The upgrade increases capacity by seven new beds to a total of 52 and includes new bathrooms, a modern central heating system and improved security features. While the Hostel was initially set up for men only, it now has a dedicated women’s wing, with swipe-cards for rooms, toilets and showers.
Mayor Phil Goff said the Hostel plays a crucial role in supporting Auckland’s homeless population, offering immediate relief to some of the city’s most vulnerable people.
“Homelessness is a serious problem and has worsened in the last 10 years. While Housing First is our long-term strategy for addressing homelessness, it’s vital that we have services that can respond to the immediate material needs of rough sleepers.”
“James Liston provides the basics to people most in need, including warm, secure accommodation, meals and laundry services. It also acts as a conduit to other agencies like the City Mission and Lifewise who can offer long-term support.”
The Hostel provides emergency accommodation for up to 12 weeks while permanent housing is found. Support is also given in areas like preparing food, personal care and paying bills, help enrolling with a doctor, assistance with obtaining a benefit, and support to deal with drug and alcohol abuse or addiction.
The upgrade comes following last year’s Auckland-wide homelessness count, which established a minimum of 3,674 people living without shelter and in temporary accommodation across the region, including an estimated 800 people sleeping rough - the majority in central Auckland.
Mayor Phil Goff said, “The centre of the city is where the greatest need is, so upgrading the James Liston Hostel and increasing capacity was badly needed. I’m pleased that Auckland Council contributed $2 million to the project and we will continue to work closely with the sector to support those in need.”
Dame Diane Robertson said she was proud of the work the trust had done to upgrade the facility.
“It is important that we provide accommodation that is warm, comfortable and welcoming. Our most vulnerable people need to be treated with compassion and respect.”