Merge Community is a taonga grown from the street whānau of Auckland’s inner city. We grow hope, wellness and self-determination with street whānau in Auckland’s inner city.
– Peer support
– Social and community enterprise
– Community building
Merge is a doorway to support and opportunities
Lived experience and peer support are at the heart of our approach. Lived experience means the knowledge, wisdom and expertise that comes from experiencing major life challenges. Peer support is given by those with lived experience who get training and skills based on their own experiences so that they can help others.
Street whānau are those who are sleeping rough, homeless or ‘vulnerably housed’, including those in emergency housing, overcrowded homes or boarding houses. Street whānau includes those at risk of becoming homeless such as prison-leavers or those stuck in emergency housing.
Our team is made up of staff and trained volunteers, most with lived experience of homelessness, addictions or mental health distress. You’ll find us in the Merge Café, 453 Karangahape Rd and in the space upstairs.
For more information about our approach, visit our report ‘Learnings from the Street’.
Peer Support volunteers offer support and advocacy at the Merge Café, every weekday between 10am – 12pm.
We can support and advise you about housing and services such as Work and Income. Just come into Merge Café and ask for Peer Support.
We only work face-to-face and it’s first come, first served. You can find information about other resources and services at Auckland Council community safety or at healthpoint for mental health, addiction and other services.
Our volunteers have lived experience of rough sleeping. Lifewise supports them with hands-on training and development opportunities. Volunteering as a peer support person can be a stepping stone to a profession in peer support.
“I moved from being a client to a peer support volunteer. I came to see what they could do for me and I saw that I could do things for myself.”
Haven is a peer-led after hours support space where you can drop in. It’s hosted at Merge Café, 453 Karangahape Rd.
If you are dealing with addiction, mental health or rough sleeping, Haven is a quiet place to recover, connect and get support from people who have life experience and provide hope and guidance.
Haven runs at the weekends at Merge Café:
Haven is a collaboration between Lifewise, Odyssey and Mind and Body who all use a peer support approach to addiction, mental health or homelessness.
“Riporipo kau ana, ka pōkarekare te wai. The whirlpool we create, causes ripples. Our experiences influence others.”
– Whakatauki by Ken Kerehoma, Former Pou Manukura, Lifewise
We work to empower our community to use their expertise in leading their social change.
We do this by helping people to participate in all levels of decision-making. People with lived experience of rough sleeping participate in governance, service design, delivery and continuous development of our services.
We strive to provide advocacy opportunities for individuals and right up to the system level. Some examples of this work are:
– STREET– Stories of homelessness from the Merge Community (2019)
– Mana Wahine – Women’s experience of rough sleeping in the Auckland City Centre (2018)
– Stuck in the ’80s – Submission to the Welfare Reform