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Collaboration Providing Shelter For City’s Homeless

Thirty-eight self-contained units have been made available in a private property for the city’s vulnerable community – providing food, shelter, security, and most importantly a safe place to self-isolate during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

A collaboration between the Council’s welfare team, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Housing Urban Development (HUD) and Wellington City Mission has resulted in a new facility (Te Paapori – which means community) opening with 38 self-contained units secured for two months (with an option to extend if required). Mitre 10 Mega has also provided fridges and freezers to help safely accommodate residents in self-isolation.

The cost of the accommodation is to be covered by MSD as well as HUD. The Wellington City Mission will manage the facility (Te Paapori) as a Kaupapa Māori service. This also means 24/7 staffing, food and support functions.

Wellington Night Shelter usually houses, on average, 40 men each night, with communal and dormitory living which didn’t allow for social distancing. By relocating 20 of their residents to Te Paapori, where they will have their own self-contained space to isolate, the remaining Night Shelter guests will have the space they need to spread out and have separate bedrooms while we’re in Alert Level 4 lockdown.

This is a great result, and there is capacity for other referrals from the Emergency Welfare Team, says Wellington City Council Community Services Manager, Jenny Rains.

“We’re working closely with central government and non-governmental agencies to look after some of our most vulnerable members of the community, because let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to self-isolate when you’re living on the streets.

“This coordinated approach is aiming to ensure that no-one slips through the gaps, and they have some long-term security as we navigate through this turbulent time.”

Mayor Andy Foster is proud of the way the different agencies have pulled together to secure this facility so quickly.

“The fast, efficient, and effective way Te Paapori has become a reality demonstrates all the pre-planning for any eventuality has paid off, now that one of the worst case scenarios has become a reality.”

Gagau Annandale-Stone, Regional Commissioner MSD, says: “It was great to work together with government agencies and with private companies in the community to bring about this opportunity. We know it’s important to help those most vulnerable into a safe place for their

Wellington City Missioner, Murray Edridge agrees, and adds: “It has been a wonderful effort on behalf of all the agencies involved in setting up this much needed facility in a very short time. In that context, I want to acknowledge the outstanding work being done on the ground by the team at the Wellington City Mission to be able to offer this support to those most in need.

“Everyone in the community is facing challenges at this time, but for those that are homeless, these challenges are magnified significantly. Te Paapori will be a whare for the most vulnerable to call home and self-isolate in, while providing them with wrap-around support from a place of Kaupapa Māori.”

There are numerous other plans in place to protect our vulnerable communities, according to Wellington City Council Homelessness portfolio holder, Councillor Teri O’Neill.

“We know there are people sleeping in cars, so our teams are working with outreach groups and agencies to support them and try to meet their immediate needs.

“We are also in discussion with CCDHB to ensure continued support for primary care as well as addiction and mental health services – all of which are critical for supporting many members of our homeless communities.”

How you can help

  • Supermarkets and other essential services will remain open so there’s absolutely no need to panic-buy.
  • Financial donations are the best way to help others in need. You can donate online via bank transfer at:

Wellington City Mission: https://wellingtoncitymission.org.nz/want-to-help/donate/

Kaibosh: https://www.kaibosh.org.nz/donatefunds/

Kiwi Community Assistance: https://www.kca.org.nz/help-us/donate-funds

Other key messages

Make sure you stay fire safe. Fire and Emergency is urging New Zealanders to think about fire safety as they self-isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more info, visit here.

Reporting breaches

If you have concerns about a gathering of people or an event that breaches the criteria, you can email NHCCselfisolation@health.govt.nz or you can contact the Police by phone on 105 or online at police.govt.nz/105support.

Whatever your situation, look out for yourself and others, and see the Ministry of Health website for all the latest information and advice on COVID-19. And remember, if you begin to feel unwell, contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453, or your GP. The symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

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