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As you all know by now, we have had to call off this year’s Lifewise Big Sleepout fundraising event. Our thoughts are with you and your family as through the next few weeks, you will most likely be navigating life at home as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Sadly, it is those who are rough sleeping, who don’t have homes to go to, who aren’t able to self isolate as easily.

Like most organisations we are having to cut back our services and are only providing essential services, even to those who are rough sleeping.

The good news is that when things are back to normal, Mike together with the Street Reach Team and the Merge Community Team will be poised to reactivate all of the services mentioned below.

Mike finds himself sleeping rough in Auckland Central and this carries on for two long years.

“I was addicted to drugs and I felt I needed to do something different, because I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing and expect different results, I just needed something new in my life. Anything!”

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Mike realises Merge and Lifewise don’t judge

“I heard about this work from Lifewise’s Housing First team. I didn’t tell them I was going through that journey, struggling with homelessness and drug addiction. But they helped me nonetheless. Which is better because I don’t want you to help me just because I have addiction problems.”

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Now that he has a home, he also found something meaningful to do.

“They said to me, if you want to work just turn up. That makes it easy for us compared to y’know being interviewed, jump through hoops, look into your past and they just say nah, they just don’t give you an opportunity. Everybody needs an opportunity regardless of their past. That’s what boosts people’s morale and gets them motivated.”

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Mike’s mahi is clear now; he wants to give back to his street whanau.

“As part of the Peer Support Team I now help people with outreach on the streets. I am trying to reach people out on the streets and give people the opportunity that I had, through Lifewise and Merge, by just helping them out.”

Mike’s lived experience of homelessness is key for his new role and for understanding how to empower others who find themselves homeless.

“Everyone’s journey is different, so we have to go into their world, I tend to talk to them in their world.”

Mike calls on you today to help, donate to literally ‘bring people back to life’

“Together, we can bring out the best of whatever is left of a person, we can bring them back.”

As you read through our newsletter you will witness other stories of success that you can financially support to empower those who are coming out of oblivion.

All Lifewise services can weave together to help people regain a sense of responsibility and purpose, just like Mike found out. Now he is helping others to get into housing and meaningful activities.

Mike says “in a way, we are helping ourselves by helping others.”