Topic: Health

Emergency homeless shelter for Rotorua

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

A new homeless night shelter will be opened in Rotorua next week. The night shelter Sanctuary Manaakitanga will provide relief for rough sleepers during the winter months.

This follows a protest on Monday where more than 120 people marched to the Rotorua Lakes Council, calling for an emergency shelter. I spoke with Tiny Deane who will manage the new night shelter, he says there are approximately 68 people in Rotorua currently homeless.

Deane says there are many groups involved including local businesses, churches and iwi trusts who have been raising funds for the operation.

It will be located in the Rotorua CBD, although the location is under wraps. It will be open for four months. It will have showers and washing machines. The shelter will be smoke-free, alcohol-free and drug-free area and those who break the rules, including assault or verbal abuse, may be banned.

Although the new emergency solution will be a night shelter, manager Tiny Deane says that the drop in centre Visions of Helping Hand, which he also manages, opens in the morning to provide breakfast and continue offering other support services.

He hopes that in the future there will be a larger facility that can provide full wraparound services to address addiction and mental health and eventually get them into employment. Deane says that's the best step towards dealing with the growing issue of homelessness.