A homeless support group based at South Auckland's former Kingseat Hospital can now keep its doors open after receiving a $10,000 donation from Te Puea Marae. The emergency accommodation centre was on the verge of closing one of its houses but has now been thrown a lifeline.
Just recently Brent Milesi, the organiser of Wise Guys was given funds by Te Puea Marae to keep his emergency accommodation centre open.
“The marae giving us that much money is absolutely astonishing, I could not be happier, was not expecting it, it's like the reversal, we went there to pick up blankets, and we got a big cheque.”
$10,000 to be exact. Having experienced homelessness himself, Brent is dedicated to helping others like Thomas Emery.
Ngāti Pikiao’s Thomas Emery says, “I had nowhere to stay at the time, I just gave up and started living on the streets for a little while.”
“We have a second villa which we've been struggling to keep open just because of the cost, so we are trying to keep that open so we can take another 36,” says Milesi.
Wise Guys was one of four community homeless support groups that received financial, food and clothing donations from Te Puea Marae at the formal closing of Manaaki Tangata last week. They also provide free doctor services, counselling and training for women and men who stay there.
“I've been in so many situations in renting and boarding, it's more down to earth and safe.//I've met a lot of people and they're like whānau to me,’ says Emery.
Milesi wants to expand and establish more lodges to address the country's housing need.