14 Hours Home­less

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

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.’’

PHOTO: FAIR­FAX NZ

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.

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