How you can help our homeless this World Homeless Day

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Today is World Homeless Day – a day to put a spotlight on the growing issue of homelessness in New Zealand. In New Zealand, more than 30,000 Kiwis have no place to call home. And in the last year alone, the number of people sleeping rough on the streets within 3 km of the Sky Tower has more than doubled to 147.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I am proud to work for a charity that doesn’t believe the homeless will always be with us. Every day, my team works incredibly hard to give homeless people what they need most – a permanent home.

It’s been a long hard journey to get here. In 2007, Lifewise ran one of Auckland’s most established soup kitchens. Every day, we handed out the same old meal, serving the same faces, day in and day out. The average time someone was in our soup kitchen was 7 minutes. . 7 minutes! How could we truly change someone’s situation in 7 minutes?

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So we made a tough decision – we closed our soup kitchen down.

The truth is, things like soup kitchens and blankets are just quick fixes. They serve an immediate need, but they don’t get to the root causes of the issue. The solution for ending homelessness is really so simple – what do homeless people need most? A home.

Lifewise is one of the only agencies in the country to use a model that has been used all around the world to put an end to homelessness. It’s called ‘Housing First’. Housing First gives people a permanent home, and then helps them connect to the support they need, including mental health and addiction services. Using Housing First, hundreds of people who would still be living on the street without LIfewise now have a permanent place to call home.

But we need your help to make it work. This World Homeless we’re asking Kiwis to help our most vulnerable citizens by giving them a life-giving gift – a housewarming gift for their new home.

As anyone who has ever moved house will know, by the time you’ve paid bond, rent and utility bills, often there isn’t any money left to buy the essentials. It’s that much harder when you’re homeless and don’t own anything to begin with! Some of our clients start their new life by going weeks on end without things like toothbrushes and shampoo and cleaning products.

Please help us change that.

This World Homeless Day, I would be incredibly grateful if you would consider buying a housewarming gift for our most vulnerable citizens. For just $20, you can buy a ‘welcome pack’ for a newly housed homeless person, with essentials like toiletries and cleaning products to give them a sense of pride in their new home.

My team of social workers will make up personalized packs for each person we house – whether that’s razors for men, sanitary products for women, or toys for families with children.

GrabOne’s deal is available from 10th October. To purchase, visit www.grabone.co.nz/auckland/lifewise-1