30 May 2016
The Bay’s current housing crisis is placing huge strain on social agencies so a $25,000 grant from BayTrust is being warmly welcomed by Tauranga Moana Nightshelter Trust.
The nightshelter first opened on Elizabeth St in September 2014 and offers more than just a safe place to sleep. Manager Annamarie Angus says staff and volunteers, including a fulltime social worker, are committed to helping each man end the cycle of homelessness by resolving long-term issues such as access to health services, social welfare benefits, and drug and alcohol counselling.
“Without BayTrust’s help we wouldn’t be able to provide these services,” Annamarie says. “We would just become another warehouse night shelter where people come in at 4pm and leave again at 7:30am and nothing else gets resolved.
“Without good support from family or elsewhere, these men lose all hope of accessing services we have in our community and it’s easy to fall through the cracks.
“Sadly the general population might think these people are hopeless; that they have chosen this life. But many people underestimate the strength of these guys to pick themselves up one more time and give things a go.
“In our experience if you give them support and a safe environment, they fly. Once they learn to trust in people, and trust in society again, it’s just amazing.”
Annamarie is deeply concerned about the housing shortage and the diminishing range of housing solutions in the Bay. “We believe the nightshelter and the social work service we offer is vital to ensure the growing population of homeless people in the Bay of Plenty have access to safe, warm shelter alongside receiving the support required to end the cycle of homelessness.
“With the right supports in place, housing becomes sustainable for the long term. Most people do want that – they are looking to live well in the community and have their own whare to go home to.”
BayTrust Chief Executive Alastair Rhodes says the $25,000 grant towards the nightshelter’s operational costs will help further BayTrust’s vision of ensuring ‘Bay of Plenty is the greatest place to be’.
“Healthy sustainable housing and safe communities are two important priorities for BayTrust. Getting people off the street and helping them resolve their housing situation is the first step towards them living a healthier, more productive life.
“Tauranga’s nightshelter is making a genuine difference in homeless men’s lives and we’re proud to be able to support them behind the scenes to deliver these important social services.”