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Snow and Shelter

Snow and Shelter

Thursday 18 August

While the recent chilly weather and snow has brought delight to many Wellingtonians, Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) has concerns for the wellbeing of people living without shelter in the city.

In the first quarter of 2011, DCM worked with 19 people who were sleeping rough, or living in cars or garages. This increased by 42% in the second quarter to 27 people.

“The apparent increase in rough sleepers is particularly alarming. It is concerning to think that people are sleeping outdoors in this freezing weather. The detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing can not be overstated,” says Stephanie McIntyre, director of DCM.

According to the NZ definition of homelessness, living “without shelter” is defined as living under bridges and in bus shelters; cars; garages; or squatting in abandoned buildings.

DCM recently encountered a man who had been sleeping rough for over 15 years. With the support of DCM’s team, he has now found a home. DCM will continue to provide assistance to him where necessary to make sure he is able to maintain his tenancy.

“There are often complex reasons why people are in this situation, but the vast majority express a desire to be housed. With DCM’s support a number of people have moved into accommodation during the quarter - sometimes for the first time in a very long time. This highlights again the urgent need for more affordable accommodation in the city,” says Stephanie.


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