Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, July 12, 2015

We NEED to own it!

We are trying to raise money to purchase the Night Shelter buildings in Dunedin and it has been hard and often disappointing work. I wrote this to a friend expressing some of my frustrations;
"Many New Zealand citizens and bean counters do not have a clue that there are hundreds of vulnerable, unemployed, unemployable, people in our city often with mental health issues.  I have worked with them for 27 years. They end up on drugs, alcohol or with gambling addictions because they have no hope.  They live in piss soaked cold boarding houses, with a mattress on the floor, unable to cook a meal for themselves, barely coping and often find themselves out on the street. There is no hope or place for them in our economy. There are no jobs for them, and when they try they just get another experience of rejection.  They are spat out the back of the system.  They are often seen as deserving their predicament and that they bring it on themselves. I suspect when Trustees of money are viewing all the causes before them, (and there is a lot of competition) these folk and their needs are not seen as deserving as others."

I have spent the night writing an article I hope will appear in the local paper advertising our Night Shelter Street Appeal.  I will wait to see if they see it as suitable, but thought I would post it here anyway. It is currently a passion in my life. I want to do everything I can, while I can, so that I can rest easy knowing that there is a permanent Night Shelter in Dunedin.

It is people.
As a minister in an inner-city Church for 27 years I worked among Dunedin’s vulnerable people. For much of that time I found that reliable emergency accommodation in Dunedin was non-existent. I often financed people into back-packers which was not always appropriate. For the last decade the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust has developed a facility offering consistent emergency accommodation every day of the year. We average 54 bed-nights a month last year and during June this year we had guests filling over 100 bed-nights.  A roster mix up recently meant that I as chairman of the Trust had to rush into the shelter to open up an hour later than it usually opens. I found six people, men and women, waiting on a freezing cold night to get into the shelter. As I opened up, turned on the heaters and knew that these shivering people would soon have a hot drink, a meal and a warm bed, I felt good about being part of this service. The statistics above are not just numbers, but people, fellow citizens who have run out of options for all sorts of reasons. A Night Shelter is needed in our community, and with the generosity of many people we are doing that!

The Dunedin Night Shelter Trust is working hard to purchase the buildings it currently rents, so that consistent emergency accommodation will be a certainty in Dunedin for generations to come.  From Tuesday July 28th until Saturday August 1st there will be collectors outside supermarkets and in the streets to give you the opportunity to contribute to this cause. So far through the Shelter lots of Dunedin people are helping Dunedin people at their point of need. People generously give bedding, food, groceries, money, time, skills and even toilet paper to ensure the service operates.  “Dunedin helping Dunedin” can help the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust own this facility for the city.  Ownership will ensure the service stays. Ownership will enable the service to develop. We have $380,000 toward this and are still working on it. We need $600,000. You can help. Donations can be made online via  (http://givealittle.co.nz/org/dnshelter), by direct credit to our bank account (03 0905 0279202 02) or by cheque to PO Box 5906, Moray Place, Dunedin 9058. He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata. (Maori proverb)
(What is the most important thing? 
It is people.
It is people
It is people.)

Dave Brown (Chairman Dunedin Night Shelter Trust)"

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