14 Hours Homeless
What’s it to be? The couch, the car or the cardboard?
The Salvation Army is running the 14 Hours Homeless event again this year highlighting the plight of the city’s homeless and raising funds for its Men’s Hostel supportive accommodation unit.
The co-ordinator of this year’s sleep-out at the central city Salvation Army Citadel carpark, Sapphire Davis, is encouraging business house and club teams to join in and spend 14 hours on the cold hard streets. Participants have a choice of sleeping in their cars, dossing down on a supplied couch, or sheltering with a sheet of cardboard.
Last year’s 14 Hours Homeless Sapphire says created great feedback, and it’s not too late to register a team of between three and five people.
‘‘You can register online and we’ll be taking registrations right up to start time at 6pm on Friday night. There’ll be team activities, speakers and a movie.’’
The team activities include building a shelter out of cardboard, and dressing up in several layers of clothing to keep warm. The movie is The Soloist starring Jamie Foxx.
But Sapphire says there will be no home comforts, and while there will be soup and bread ‘‘we want people to go away hungry – so they get a feel for what it’s like’’.
With housing and living costs now at an all-time high, at least one in 120 Kiwis is now classed as homeless. And it’s not just ‘rough sleepers’.
‘‘We want people to go away hungry – so they get a feel for what it’s like.’’ Sapphire Davis
‘‘Homelessness includes people living in unsafe and unsuitable locations – on the streets, in garages, tents, caravans, cars, couch surfing or living in shared housing with other families. Rough sleepers represent only 20 per cent of those without homes.’’
Sapphire says the city’s rising homeless problem is having a profoundly disturbing impact on vulnerable families and individuals.
For the last 20 years, the Salvation Army Men’s Hostel has provided men a place to call home, along with addiction services, budgeting and counselling support.
‘‘We need help and donations so we can continue this important work of supporting men back onto the road of independent living.’’
Sapphire Davis is dressed up for a ‘night on the town’... out in the open, to support the Salvation Army’s 14 Hours Homeless campaign.