On July the 2nd, Auckland and Rotorua’s finest leaders will be made homeless for the night at the Lifewise Big Sleepout. The Big Sleepout shines a spotlight on the growing issue of homelessness in NZ -and raises the funds we desperately need to get vulnerable people off the streets and into permanent homes.
To give our rough sleepers some insight into what it’s like to call the streets your home, we asked Lifewise’s Merge Café customers to give us their top tips for sleeping rough in NZ.
Here is what the experts had to say:
HOW TO KEEP SAFE
“If you’re alone, make sure there are two ways out. Have a safe exit plan”
“Don’t sleep by yourself – sleep in a group or with another person”
“Make sure you keep all your valuables close”
“Sleep in an area where there are no drunk, stoned, or aggro people”
“Stay alert for any sounds”
“Keep something by you that you can use to protect yourself”
“If you are attacked, negotiate with them”
HOW TO KEEP WARM
“Wrap your feet, and put a hat on your head”
“Have lots of warm blankets”
“If you can get one, feather-down sleeping bags are best”
“Wear lots of warm clothes”
HOW TO KEEP CLEAN
“You’ll need lots of baby wipes”
“Get a hydrogen perodixe 3% bottle” – it takes care of bacteria, odours and fungus. You can use it on unwashed, smelly clothes, and to clean your arm pits and body”
HOW TO CHOOSE A SLEEPING SPOT
“If you feel vulnerable, sleep in a lit-up area with CCTV”
“Try to find somewhere that is dry and clean”
“Sleep off the ground, like on a bench”
“Try to find a church archway to sleep in, and ask for help”
HOW TO COPE:
“Read a book”
“Have a pen and a notebook to write with”
And the best tip of them all:
EDITOR’S NOTE: As you can see, staying safe is a constant battle. Everyone who takes part in the Lifeiwse Big Sleepout is protected by a round the clock security team – so it’s just a small taste of the harsh realities of homelessness.
People struggling with homelessness are facing some long, cold nights ahead. Please donate today to the Lifewise Big Sleepout – you will be giving a vulnerable person a home.
To learn more about the Lifewise Big Sleepout, please visit www.bigsleepout.org.nz.