A customised van service which provides free mobile laundry and showers for rough sleepers across Auckland was launched in Onehunga this morning.
The van, named Hugo, has two washers, two driers and one shower.
Operated by Australian charity organisation Orange Sky, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says the service goes some way to bringing rough sleepers one of the simple things "we take for granted".
“While superficially the service is about clean clothes and showers, the main benefits are the social interactions, the conversations and the opportunity for social services to reach out to rough sleepers. It continues to build our picture of homelessness and helps us shape the support systems we need on the ground,” says Twyford.
Orange Sky co-founder Nic Marchesi says he's excited the service has come to New Zealand.
“Since Orange Sky kicked off in October 2014, we have been continually blown away by the support we’ve received. It’s an honour and privilege to now have our first ever international van."
Orange Sky operates 27 vans throughout Australia generating more than 7,200 kilograms of laundry. Volunteers have engaged in more than 112,000 hours of conversations to date, helping to challenge the perception of homelessness and positively connect communities.
The service in Auckland is partly funded by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and will be operated by New Zealanders.
It will also work with the Housing First approach operating in Auckland and roll out in other centres around the country.