Homelessness in the Hawke's Bay needs attention

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Homelessness in the regions is not an issue that should be swept under the carpet, say husband and wife team Kiri and Kevin Swannell.

After two years of feeding the homeless once a week every week in Hawkes Bay, the lack of emergency housing in the area means society's most vulnerable have nowhere to go.

Every Monday at 6pm in Clive Square, food is given to those in need, and tonight it's hot creamy tomato soup on the menu.

Close to 40 homeless come to receive a hot meal and a snack pack they can take away with them.

The Swannells say while tens of thousands is being spent by the Napier City Council on boosting the city's tourism appeal, the homeless have been forgotten.

Kevin Swanell says, “I'd like to see them open up their wallets and support what we do.”

Thirty one-year-old Sooty Wallis, has been living on and off the streets for several years, he's never sure where his next meal is going to come from.

“I used to dive in rubbish bins to survive,” says Sooty Wallis.

For the last year, this husband and wife team have been lobbying for emergency housing in the area, but it's fallen on deaf ears.

However in the meantime, food will continue to be served every Monday night.