Shining a light on homelessness and what we can do about it
10 October is World Homeless Day, an opportunity to draw attention to the needs of people experiencing homelessness and provide opportunities for communities to respond.
The average life expectancy of someone experiencing chronic homelessness is 55 years – 20 years less than the average New Zealander. Daily aspects of life that many take for granted – such as toothbrushes, body wash and sanitary products – can be difficult or impossible to access, and health conditions are hard to manage (http://www.voxy.co.nz/health/5/348727).
In Auckland, World Homeless Day will be marked with an event hosted by the Auckland Rough Sleepers Initiative and featuring activities, performances and food (https://www.facebook.com/Auckland-Rough-Sleepers-Initiative-1956353987939594/).
The Auckland Rough Sleepers Initiative is a group comprised of city centre-based NGOs, including the Auckland City Mission, Lifewise, James Liston Hostel and the New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective, as well as Council and central government organisations that have knowledge of or interest in supporting the needs of rough sleepers.
Meanwhile, Housing First Christchurch has launched a new Facebook pageand Instagramto share the stories of people who are homeless in Christchurch, the struggles they face and how they are treated on the streets.
There will also be a pop-up display at Tūranga Christchurch Library featuring thought-provoking posters and a short video on homelessness in Christchurch as told by people living on the streets. The idea is to question stereotypes about homelessness and highlight the fact that most of us are just a few steps away from experiencing homelessness.
And in Tauranga, three community services to the homeless are combining to hold an art exhibition called ‘Slice of Humanity’, involving people putting art onto pizza boxes: