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More Support For Auckland’s Vulnerable Whānau Thanks To Award And Donation

One of the country’s leading community housing providers has received international recognition for its work providing good homes for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable individuals and whānau.

The Monte Cecilia Housing Trust in Auckland has received a Shining World Caring Award and a $50,000 New Zealand donation from Supreme Master Ching Hai, who leads the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association.

Bernie Smith, Monte Cecilia’s Chief Executive, says the award came out of the blue and will provide much-needed support for families. 

Monte Cecilia hasn’t decided what to spend the money on yet but is considering installing a playground at its Windrush development, opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last year. While a playground would not be cheap, Mr Smith says it is something that generations of children living at Windrush would benefit from.

He expressed appreciation for the award and donation.

“It really is fantastic to have our work recognised in this way and we’re very proud and grateful.”

A spokesperson for Supreme Master Ching Hai says the award recognises the Trust’s efforts to improve the world.

“It recognises their exemplary efforts to alleviate homelessness by creating community social housing, using wise management and creativity, and also touching the hearts and lives of countless people with compassion, nurturing dignity and self-confidence with unconditional supportive love.”

Mr Smith says that having a good home is a fundamental human right and provides a foundation for people to have a good life.

“It’s been really hard for families during the pandemic lockdown as a number of people have lost their jobs and they’re struggling to put food on the table and pay all of the bills. We have to make sure that we don’t see a new wave of homelessness, which would put vulnerable individuals and whānau under even more pressure.”

Monte Cecilia had been supply 70 food parcels a week to people in need, and that number was growing.

“We’ve been fortunate to have some really great support from a number of organisations, and of course our hard-working dedicated team at Monte Cecilia itself. Receiving this award and the donation gives us all a boost and of course will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

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