Three people have died in Auckland, New Zealand this winter while sleeping rough overnight. Our housing crisis has escalated to the point where families are sleeping in cars, and people on the street are dying.
I’ll be honest, moving to South Auckland has been a total culture shock for me. Previously living in Central and East Auckland, prior to that the Hibiscus Coast, I didn’t see it aside from those on Queen Street and in social media. In May we bought a house out South and my eyes have been opened, it is so confronting. I feel like homelessness is something that is swept under the rug and forgotten about by the rest of the city.
It is a shame that it takes deaths for people to pay attention but in the same token, maybe now the public will appreciate just how serious the situation is.
I was so shaken by people dying in the same town I live in. When myself and all our neighbours have adequate food and double-glazed windows, “eco-home” shelters, it doesn’t seem right that others are dying. I set about finding out how I could help.
I found an amazing lady named Debbie Munroe who takes it upon herself to feed, clothe and help the people who she refers to as freedom sleepers. She is doing an incredible job in the community. Here is her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/978559512159944/ . I sat my 3yo down today and told him that there are some people who don’t have a house, they sleep outside and get wet in the rain. I explained they don’t have food and we need to help them. He replied “Mum let’s buy them a Monster Truck toy so they can be happy”. I got him to help pack a box and do a little shop. Instead of my Friday bottle of wine tonight, we bought a couple of packets of pasta, tampons, pads, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and tinned food. We packed a box full of towels, blankets, kids clothes, soft toys, jersies, pots, pans, chopping boards. We drove them around to Debbie’s house to drop them off. I kept talking to my children about what we were doing and why. After we dropped off the box my 3yo said, “Mum we are helping. We are superheroes”. I am so happy he is keen to help and can recognize that giving is the right thing to do.
I emailed my husband’s workplace and put an appeal out on my insta page for others to donate as well.
Tomorrow there is a march to try to get a building for the homeless. On this note, churches in NZ don’t pay tax. My understanding of why is because, historically, they provide social services. Doesn’t it make sense that they should open their doors to the homeless, seems as they profit in the way of not paying tax? If they refuse to help ‘God’s children’ then they should forfeit their right of not paying tax.
If you can donate, please do. You will be helping others with the necessities of life. No one should have to die in our country like this.