Kiwis take to the streets to combat homelessness
While politicians from all parties are talking about ending homelessness, ordinary New Zealanders are being challenged to give up their beds to help combat the crisis.
Hardy Kiwis will be sleeping on the street for the fourth annual 14 Hours Homeless, raising funds for projects helping thousands of homeless New Zealander.
The Salvation Army-run sleep out will take place on 13 October in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington and Invercargill. Organisers are calling on people to join co-workers, friends and family to seek sponsorship to spend 14 hours sleeping outside on cardboard or couches or in cars and make a practical difference in the lives of homeless people.
Aux-Captain Eric Turner who runs The Salvation Army’s Epsom Lodge, which works with homeless individuals, says the centre is seeing ‘a vast array of homelessness’.
‘We’ve had people that come who’ve been sleeping in their cars for three or four weeks, struggling. They go to swimming pools to have showers. Others have been living at work.’
But whether you’re sleeping on a couch, or can’t afford a rental because of job loss the stress and the impact is the same, he says. ‘It burns relationships wherever you go.’
In the meantime, Eric says his people have nowhere to go, it’s becoming harder to find places for people to live and the centre is faced with long waiting lists for possible homes.
In the face of this, 14 Hours Homeless is a chance
for people to make a real difference, supporting projects
that provide both emergency food and shelter and work to
address the complex causes of homelessness.
‘We did 14 Hours Homeless last year, it was an uncomfortable night, but it’s one night when you can make a real difference to someone’s life.’
14 Hours Homeless is an event for those aged 18 plus, except in Auckland, where there is also a youth event. To sign up visit 14hourshomeless.org.nz
Issued on the Authority of
Commissioner Andy Westrupp (Territorial Commander)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory
- Analysis of the 2013 census by the
University of Otago showed that 41,000 people (approximately
one in 100) were living in severe housing deprivation in New
Zealand. This number has almost certainly increased.
- More than half were families with children
- 52% of homeless adults were working, studying or both
- 51% of homeless Kiwis were under