Two-hundred sleep out for homeless

  • 14/10/2017
Gatherings were held in Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North and Invercargill (Getty, file)
Gatherings were held in Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North and Invercargill. Photo credit: Getty, file

More than 200 people have spent the night sleeping rough in a bid to raise money to help the homeless.

The 14 Hours Homeless event - organised by the Salvation Army - aims to raise money while drawing attention to the plight of those on the streets.

About 270 volunteers across the country signed to sleep on cardboard boxes and in cars on Friday night - the annual appeal's fourth year - raising a record $70,000, organisers say.

Gatherings were held in Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North and Invercargill.

According to Wellington City Council's outreach teams, there are about 40 rough sleepers in the city.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, a speaker at a sleepover event at Mount Cook School on Saturday morning, said long-term solutions were needed.

"The current housing situation has put more pressure on our most vulnerable residents, making it harder for them to secure and sustain proper accommodation," he said.

"We don't just want to manage homelessness, we want to end it. That's why we're investing in more social housing."

Compassion Soup Kitchen manager Karen Holland said a shortage of housing was a major problem in the capital.

"There's a lot of work being done, but the numbers aren't changing," she said.

"For the people who come to us, to have a nutritious meal is really important. But it's more than just food, people need a sense of belonging so they come here for community."

About 41,000 - or one-in-100 - people were found to be homeless by a University of Otago analysis of the 2013 census.

Money raised in previous years of the sleep-out event has gone into food parcels, youth projects and addiction treatment.

NZN