Dunedin Night Shelter Trust chairman Dr Rob Thomson is sad the city needs a shelter for homeless people, but is “really glad that we do have one”.
Located in central Dunedin, the shelter remains in high demand, providing dinner, breakfast and a warm, dry bed for those who have nowhere else to turn.
“For some people in our community, life can be pretty tough with nowhere to live and not knowing when their next meal will be,” Dr Thomson said.
“Winters in Dunedin can be pretty cold, so consider what it must be like if you have no home.”
After a massive fundraising effort in conjunction The Starthat brought in more than $600,000, The Dunedin Night Shelter Trust was able to buy the premises in Lees St in late 2015.
A warm, clean, homely space, the shelter has five rooms and 12 beds, including beds for women.
Clients are able to wash clothes and are provided with advice and assistance in finding accommodation and ensuring they are receiving all appropriate entitlements.
“As well as providing support to those who would fit a definition of what we traditionally think of as ‘homeless’, the shelter also regularly assists people who have suffered a life shock such as loss of job or relationship break-up and [who] need a hand to get back on their feet,” Dr Thomson said.
The night shelter existed because of the “amazing support” of the people of Dunedin and was a wonderful asset for the community, he said.
In order to help keep the facility operating, the Dunedin Night Shelter Annual Appeal will run from August 21 to 25.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, a long-time supporter of the shelter, visited recently to help begin the campaign with a personal donation.
“The Dunedin Night Shelter provides an essential service that every civilised community should have and support,” he said.
“Without it, a surprisingly wide range of people, often through little fault of their own, would be on the street without assistance.”
The Dunedin Night Shelter Trust is seeking volunteers to help with its street appeal from August 21-25. People who are interested are asked to phone (03)477-0546 or visit the website: www.dunedinnightshelter.co.nz.