Concern for homeless

A count last year by Auckland Council found that 15 per cent of Auckland’s homeless were in Rodney.

Social agencies are concerned that there is potential for north Rodney’s most vulnerable to fall through the cracks during the current lockdown, but new measures have begun to take effect.

Homebuilders coordinator Quentin Jukes says rough sleepers in the area may still not have found somewhere to quarantine.

“Rough sleepers don’t usually have camper vans or anything like a fridge to keep food in, so they will emerge relatively soon,” he says.

He says if police encounter rough sleepers while they are out and about, they will facilitate contact with Work and Income (WINZ).

He says new rules have been brought in by WINZ to extend emergency accommodation from seven days to 21 days, after which the accommodation would likely be renewed for the remainder of quarantine.

The quarantine has had one benefit with an exodus of travellers from the area leaving ample room in motels and hotels.

“More motels than usual have been open to engaging with government and have someone without accommodation stay in their rooms.”

Quentin says more locals have found themselves in a vulnerable position recently with a number of job losses occurring right before quarantine began.

Those who were in boarding rental situations, who have reduced tenancy rights, were especially vulnerable to losing their accommodation.

The first port of call for those who do not have stable accommodation during the quarantine is Work and Income, but Quentin says people are welcome to call Homebuilders if they have any trouble.

Women’s Centre Rodney manager Colleen Julian is also concerned about women who might be living in an unsafe environment during quarantine.

“There would be a lot of people without stable homes or living in overcrowded homes,” she says.

“If a woman finds herself in a crisis and needs to be uplifted she can still call the police, and they may put them in hotels.”

The Women’s Centre Rodney is continuing some services including counselling over the phone.

Kate’s Place in Kaiwaka is still servicing clients from Maungaturoto to Wellsford with services such as counselling on the phone.

Coordinator Kirstie Brown has been delivery food and pharmacy prescriptions to those over 70 and who are unwell.

“We have to keep it up. People still need to eat, and there is still a need out here,” Kirsty says.

Do you need help?

  •   •  Women’s Centre Rodney 09 425 7261

  •   •  Homebuilders 09 425 7048

  •   •  Kate’s Place 09 431 2661

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