Calls for night shelter to stop homeless dying on Auckland streets

Social workers are calling for a night shelter to keep homeless people safe in response to multiple deaths of homeless people each year on Auckland's streets.

Auckland City Mission estimates annually up to 15 people that it works with are dying from issues relating to homelessness.

Last year Newshub Nation reporter, Mike Wesley-Smith accompanied Ms Kidd as she delivered aid to Auckland's homeless.

"A lot of those people we met last year are no longer around, many of those people have passed away, sadly."

Now she is calling for a shelter to keep those people safe.

"This is the biggest city in New Zealand, start to care for the most vulnerable people in your community," pleaded advocate for the homeless, Michelle Kidd in her interview with Newshub Nation.

"People just treat them so badly and it's got to stop."

Ms Kidd says Auckland should follow the lead of Rotorua, where former truckie Tiny Deane has opened a shelter housing up to forty people each night.

Known as 'The Hub' by those who stay there, the shelter opened in August with support from the council, Ministry of Social Development and other agencies.

"Me and my wife saw a need and we went for it," Mr Deane said.

The Hub helps people like homeless man Hemokata Te Kiri, who ended up on the streets after losing his wife and his home.

"I am blessed by these people, I am blessed by Tiny and the hub, without them I would be freezing [on the streets]," he told Newshub Nation.

A Government stocktake of New Zealand's housing published in February 2018 showed the level of homelessness far outstrips the help available.

In 2017 the 'turn-away rate' for emergency housing providers ranged from 82 to 91 percent - so for every 10 homeless people, only one or two could be accommodated.

However, the Government is responding, adding 244 more transitional housing places this winter for people in urgent need of a place to stay.

And Budget 2018 gave a $63m boost to the Housing First Programme. Auckland City Council is also funding the refurbishment

But more help is needed and Mr Deane says cost can't be the only consideration.

"We saved seven lives in our homeless in the middle of Rotorua just alone this year, what does that mean? You can't put a value on a human life. Never."

Newshub Nation.

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