100 signatures reached
To: Auckland Council
Auckland needs a Night Shelter
We ask Auckland Council to help provide a night shelter.
Auckland had a night shelter until 2012. The number of people sleeping on the street in Auckland city centre doubled in the two years following the closure of the night shelter (Auckland City Mission research). All other major cities in New Zealand have a night shelter, as do many other cities throughout the world. Sleeping on the street is unacceptable.
Why is this important?
Currently homelessness is increasing faster than the growth of housing supply (Auckland Council Environment and Community Committee, August 2017). This means that with the best intentions of getting people into housing, they will be spending time in inadequate shelter before this happens. A night shelter is needed, alongside initiatives such as the Housing First programme.
A night shelter acts as a place of transition for people without a home, where they can have a degree of comfort and security. It is a base from where they can contact their support networks and be put in touch with the various agencies that can provide the assistance they need.
As stated by the City Missioner in July 2017, the average life expectancy of a homeless person is 55. Hundreds of people are sleeping on Auckland streets, where it is not safe, and in the winter, it is cold and wet.
Michelle Kidd, QSM, a social worker who has been campaigning for a night shelter for many years, described the situation in her open letter to Auckland mayoral candidates on 4 May 2016:
"Most of our Homeless are either victims of Auckland’s deepening housing crisis, victims of physical or emotional abuse or neglect, suffer from disability, mental health or addiction issues, have little or no formal education or a combination of such factors. Homelessness is a complex issue for which there is no straightforward answer …
"Without a stable base, Homeless people have no access to social services that might otherwise enable them to begin confronting the underlying factors that have resulted in them being on the streets. Further, as long as people are left to live on the streets without any support, they will be exposed not only to the elements but also to harm (such as physical and sexual violence)…
"Homelessness in Auckland has become a desperate social issue and the time has come for the city to accept its responsibility for it. While any long-term strategy should be informed by the “Housing First” approach, applied with real success in states such as Utah in the United States, a night shelter will always be the necessary starting point - it represents the foundation on which a broader and more robust framework can be built …
"Visitors to Auckland are greeted by the sight of our Homeless on the streets of our city - a stark contradiction to the ‘most liveable’ status Auckland craves. The failure of the city to provide basic human needs is on display for all to see. This cannot be allowed to continue.”
An open letter to Auckland mayoral candidates
Watch: moves are afoot to set up a night shelter http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/shows/2017/12/gimme-shelter.html
Housing First and night shelters