Auckland World Homeless Day commemorations ‘biggest ever’

Press Release: Auckland City Mission


Auckland World Homeless Day commemorations ‘biggest ever’ as city’s housing crisis reaches critical level

This year’s World Homeless Day commemorations on Monday, October 10th, will be Auckland’s largest to date.

The increased number and visibility of homeless individuals and families over the past 12 months, along with heightened media interest and public awareness, have led to this year’s World Homeless Day commemorations being relocated to Aotea Square in order to accommodate a larger event.

On October 10th, Aotea Square will be transformed into a thriving hub offering live performances, information, artwork, food, music and a 12:30pm celebrity cook-off featuring guests Hayley Holt and Emily Hawthorn, as well as members of the local homeless community.

From 9:30am - 2:30pm, members of the media and wider public are invited to stop by, enjoy the entertainment and activities and learn about the issues homeless Aucklanders face.

“World Homeless Day is a chance for members of the public to engage with homelessness in a different way,” says Auckland City Missioner, Chris Farrelly.

“Rather than hearing about the issues through the news or social media, visitors to Aotea Square on October 10th can hear the stories and learn about real experiences first-hand, in an environment that’s really positive and informative,” he says.

The 2016 Auckland Rough Sleeper Count found 177 people sleeping rough within three kilometres of the Sky Tower, not including a further 51 people who would otherwise have been sleeping rough but were located either at an emergency accommodation provider or at Auckland Hospital.

A University of Otago research report released earlier this year estimated that approximately 41,075 people are homeless in Aotearoa/New Zealand, with roughly 20,000 of these individuals and families believed to be residing in Auckland. While rough sleepers represent the most visible side of homelessness, they are in fact the “tip of the ice burg,” with thousands more people sleeping in cars, on couches, in garages or in temporary accommodation such as hotels and boarding houses.

This year’s World Homeless Day commemorations are being organised by the Auckland Rough Sleepers Initiative, which is comprised of representatives from the Auckland City Mission, Lifewise, Salvation Army, New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, James Liston Hostel, ADHB/ACOS, CADS, Ministry of Social Development, Housing New Zealand and Auckland Council.