Auck­land City Mis­sion is ‘maxed out’

Central Leader - - SITUATIONS VACANT - STAFF REPORTER

Needy fam­i­lies are be­ing forced to wait for hours for help as the Auck­land City Mis­sion’s ser­vices are ‘‘maxed out’’.

The char­ity has kicked off its win­ter fundrais­ing cam­paign, Win­ter War­riors, in a des­per­ate bid to cater to the grow­ing num­bers of vul­ner­a­ble Ki­wis seek­ing its help.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Far­relly said de­spite de­mand for food parcels in­creas­ing, the mis­sion was un­able to pro­vide any more than the 13,714 it de­liv­ered last year. Mean­while, staff mem­bers said they were ex­hausted by the level of des­per­ate need pour­ing through the char­ity’s doors.

The clo­sure of nearby home­less sup­port ser­vices meant the mis­sion was now the only provider of day-to-day ser­vices for the home­less in cen­tral Auck­land, Far­relly said.

‘‘When fam­i­lies come in for an emer­gency food par­cel, they some­times have to wait for sev­eral hours in our draughty wait­ing room be­fore some­one can see them. Imag­ine what that’s like for an el­derly per­son, or a par­ent with their young child? Peo­ple don’t come here un­less they have to – and they’re hav­ing to in greater and greater num­bers.’’

The Win­ter War­riors cam­paign aimed to raise $300,000 to hire two new staff: one in the home­less out­reach team, and one in the cri­sis care ser­vice, fundrais­ing team leader Alexis Sawyers said.

The lat­est fig­ures, from May 2016, showed there were more than 177 peo­ple sleep­ing rough within a 3km ra­dius of the Sky Tower – 30 more than were counted at the end of 2014. On top of that, about 51 peo­ple who other­wise would have been sleep­ing rough were ei­ther in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion, or pa­tients at a hos­pi­tal or men­tal health unit on the night the count was taken, Sawyers said.

The cri­sis care team mostly saw peo­ple who needed emer­gency food parcels, but of­ten had un­der­ly­ing is­sues such as a need for so­cial hous­ing or bud­get­ing sup­port.

Farelly said Auck­land was a ‘‘gen­er­ous city’’ and the mis­sion needed kind­ness and com­pas­sion ‘‘now more than ever be­fore’’. While food do­na­tions were wel­come, ‘‘our aim is al­ways to help clients be­come in­de­pen­dent of us’’, he said. Do­nated funds were par­tic­u­larly valu­able as they al­lowed the mis­sion to ad­dress the deeper is­sues some­one was fac­ing, he said.

BEVAN READ/STUFF

Auck­land City Mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Far­relly says the char­ity is at ca­pac­ity, with more peo­ple seek­ing help ev­ery day.

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