Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

10-bed safe haven for women living on the streets

By Online News - Rereātea
  • Auckland

Te Whare Manaaki Wāhine is a temporary accommodation shelter for vulnerable women.

The women’s shelter provides a safe and welcoming space for women in need.

General Manager of Social Services Helen Robinson says, “The prime minister put out a call asking for Aotearoa to help the homeless over winter, and we took that quite seriously.”

Robinson says one of their buildings will empty for three months while they prepare for construction on the site.

“We are utilising that space as a 10-bed night shelter for women. Te Whare Manaaki Wāhine, which means 'house of hospitality for women', will run on a night-by-night basis providing food, a warm bed, a shower, laundry facilities, and support services where appropriate.”

32-year-old Moana, who has been living on the streets for the last three years, and is also a client of the City Mission says the women’s shelter is a great idea as she has experienced first-hand what it is like to sleep outside during winter.

“Last year I was so cold all winter, even though I had a good sleeping bag. Sleeping outside in all kinds of weather is hard on the body and soul."

Robinson says the risk of experiencing violence for women sleeping on the streets is high, and that this small space will give ten women a safe haven for the night.

"With the creation of Te Whare Manaaki Wāhine, we are claiming a space for women by women, which is safe and trauma-informed.  Our staff are all female, including female security guards."

The Mission is working closely with their partners to find long-term solutions and the best ways to respond to urgent emergency needs.