Some of Auckland’s most hardworking agencies observed World Homeless Day on 10 October 2016. They gathered at Aotea Square to not only connect with the homeless community but also with the wider public.
This year, the event featured live performances, information desks, artwork, free food, music and a celebrity cook-off featuring guests Hayley Holt and Emmeline Hawthorne, as well as members of the local homeless community.
The goal of World Homeless Day is “to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness, while taking advantage of the stage an ‘international day’ provides.”
It was the perfect day to launch a new website called Āwhina. This website has been developed by homeless Aucklanders, frontline staff and organisations including Auckland City Mission, Lifewise, New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, Youthline, Auckland Council and Awhina Mai.
Āwhina, the te reo Māori word for ‘helper’, will connect Auckland’s homeless people with the facilities and services that exist to support them. Āwhina will also provide help for those who require extra support to remain housed. The website is under continuous development and those running it are open to suggestions for any services, activities or information that may assist those in need.