Big boost for women’s shelter
Extra social work help provided
Rotorua’s shelter for homeless women and children has hit the ground running this new year after being given $50,000.
Baytrust approved the grant, made to Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust Rotorua, just before Christmas.
The grant will be used to provide extra social work support throughout 2019. Visions administrator Julia Fonotia says the money will be used to help pay for a second social worker who is now based at the Tarewa Rd shelter, to help improve women’s parenting and life skills so they can move into a place of their own.
She says the social workers walk alongside the women and give whatever help is needed, which could include organising safe car seats for babies, teaching cooking skills, or helping sign up for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
“It might be something as simple as helping them get a driver’s licence so they don’t rack up fines or get arrested. Or helping them obtain identification like a birth certificate,” she says. “It is easy to provide shelter, food and other basic needs.
“However, the wrap-around services and education our social workers provide our wa¯ hine is what can inspire them to make positive long-lasting changes for their wha¯ nau.”
The Tarewa Rd shelter opened in November 2017 and is a former hostel containing 68 beds and 18 individual rooms.
Julie says the facility is “always full” and women and their children might stay anywhere from a few nights to a few months until they can get back on their feet.
“Women become homeless for a wide variety of reasons, so there’s never one simple solution.
“This grant from Baytrust is amazing. It really gives us freedom to use it where we need to because it’s not tagged to a particular project or item.
“Baytrust has really believed in us from the start. They were our very first funder and they gave us hope we were going to get through and be able to succeed.
“We are most grateful for their ongoing support.”
Baytrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes says strengthening wha¯ nau is a key priority for the organisation which is committed to helping make the Bay of Plenty ‘the greatest place to be’.
“There’s a wide variety of reasons why some people find themselves without a roof over their heads, and Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust Rotorua is doing a wonderful job of helping people improve their lives.
“Protecting tamariki, and supporting people to reach their full potential, will ultimately lead to a stronger community that benefits us all.”
Support worker Sheen with the trust’s van.
Visions administrator Julia Fonotia.