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World Homeless Day in Auckland

October 2015

World Homeless Day in Auckland

Statistics New Zealand defines homelessness as people living ‘without shelter, people in temporary accommodation, people sharing accommodation and people in uninhabitable housing’. ‘Rough sleeping’ is the term used to describe the most challenging physical experience of homelessness.

At any one time, there are over 160 rough sleepers to be found in Central Auckland alone, and an unknown number sleeping rough in the wider Auckland area. Many enduring hardships beyond the rain, wind and cold of sleeping rough.October 10 is World Homeless Day when the public are invited to learn more about this pressing issue and how they can get involved. This year the Homeless Sector is marking world homeless day on 9 October with an event based at Freyberg square in the CBD.

Homelessness is an issue that affects the entire community and requires a unified response, not just from social service agencies but from an understanding and compassionate public. World Homeless Day will give the public the opportunity to learn how to get involved in ending homelessness on a local level through information available from the agencies present on the day.

Freyberg Square will host performances and exhibitions created by members of the homeless community as well as information from Auckland’s core agencies to raise public awareness and highlight the services available to rough sleepers. There will be a “Street Cook-Off” between two formerly homeless men and two local celebrity “chefs” – Hayley Holt and Emmeline Hawthorne. The omelette cooking competition will be judged by Joanna Bourke, one of New Zealand’s Hospitality Royalty, starting at 12pm. There will be opportunities throughout the day for members of the public to meet homeless people and staff from a variety of agencies that support homeless people.

In Auckland City there are several agencies who work to support people experiencing homelessness. Their goal is to move homeless people into long-term permanent accommodation by concentrating on prevention, intervention and integrating homeless back into the community. These agencies include The Ministry of Social Development, Auckland City Mission, Lifewise, The Salvation Army, New Beginnings Court, James Liston Hostel and Housing New Zealand.

Furthering the initiatives of these agencies is the Auckland Homelessness Steering Group which represents thirteen government and non-government organisations. The goal of this initiative, called the Homeless Taskforce Working Group, is to strengthen the approach of the agencies involved to benefit rough sleepers and reduce homelessness in Auckland.

The event at Freyberg Square, High Street, officially begins at 10am, finishing at 3pm and is jointly hosted by the Central Auckland Rough Sleepers Initiative, local rough sleepers and homeless people, government agencies and NGOs working together to engage with the public about homelessness in the CBD.

-ENDS-


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