Makeshift homeless shelter in Auckland bus station shuts down a week early

by Sophia Duckor-Jones / 22 August, 2018

Homeless people camp outside Auckland City Mission. Photo / Eva Corlett

Homeless people forced to sleep on the streets were almost unknown outside Auckland city centre a decade ago - but it's now commonplace to see rough sleepers in almost every suburb, according to the Salvation Army.

Last month, a Manukau bus station opened its doors as a temporary homeless shelter, in a trial run by Auckland Transport, the city council, and Salvation Army.

Salvation Army policy analyst Alan Johnson said there was a serious need for permanent night shelters in the city but, ultimately, homeless people needed housing and there was just not enough accommodation.

"We've tended to have around 10 people per night coming in and sleeping, and probably nearly twice that number coming in and getting some hot food.

He said homelessness was getting worse each winter and it was unsafe.

"So you can be sleeping somewhere and someone can attack you and I think one of the things that we offer here is just a safe place to be, you know 10 years ago suburban street homelessness was unknown and now it's almost commonplace in every suburban shopping centre across Auckland."

Rob, 61, usually sleeps in a doorway in Manukau, and has been using the shelter's service for its hot meals and cups of tea.

He said it had been a godsend for the homeless.

"What it is, is it's the community showing that they care about us, you know? And I think that's what it comes down to. We don't stand in line begging for money, we beg just for someone to say hello to us, and to talk to us for five minutes. That's all we want."

He said it was disappointing the shelter was closing prematurely but hoped its success would inspire something more long term.

Auckland councillor Alf Filipaina said using a bus station as a trial homeless shelter had been largely successful.

The council and Auckland Transport agency staff pitched in to provide overnight volunteers, he said.

He said a decision to stop the trial slightly earlier than planned was partly because volunteers also worked day jobs.

Mr Filipaina said the next step was assessing the merits of the test.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

Latest

Keira Knightley shines in bodice-ripping period drama Colette
102397 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Movies

Keira Knightley shines in bodice-ripping period dr…

by James Robins

The story of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a heroine of French literature, focuses on her early struggles.

Read more
Is barbecued meat bad for your health?
102255 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Nutrition

Is barbecued meat bad for your health?

by Jennifer Bowden

Sizzling meat on the barbecue is the sound and smell of summer, but proceed with caution.

Read more
March of the Algorithms: Who’s at the wheel in the age of the machine?
102434 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Tech

March of the Algorithms: Who’s at the wheel in the…

by Jenny Nicholls

Complacently relying on algorithms can lead us over a cliff – literally, in the case of car navigation systems.

Read more
IBM’s new quantum computer: The future of computing
102458 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Tech

IBM’s new quantum computer: The future of computin…

by Peter Griffin

The Q System One, as IBM calls it, doesn’t look like any conventional computer and it certainly doesn’t act like one.

Read more
James Shaw: Capital gains tax key to fixing wealth gap
102456 2019-02-15 14:54:45Z Politics

James Shaw: Capital gains tax key to fixing wealth…

by RNZ

The week before a major tax report is released, Green Party co-leader James Shaw has again challenged his government partners to back the tax.

Read more
Jealousy, murder and lies: The killing of Arishma Chand
102448 2019-02-15 10:28:12Z Crime

Jealousy, murder and lies: The killing of Arishma…

by Anneke Smith

Arishma Chand was just 24 when she was murdered.

Read more
Top wine picks from Central Otago
102233 2019-02-15 00:00:00Z Wine

Top wine picks from Central Otago

by Michael Cooper

Tucked into small corners, Central Otago vineyards offer nuggets worth digging for. Wine critic Michael Coopers offers his top picks.

Read more
Ivanka and her tower of crumbs
102404 2019-02-14 10:33:12Z Arts

Ivanka and her tower of crumbs

by Preminda Jacob

For two hours each evening, an Ivanka Trump lookalike has been vacuuming a hot pink carpet at the Flashpoint Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Read more