Lawyer's Auckland city safe haven for homeless needs a little bit more funding to make it a reality

Laura James
Source: 1News

Auckland's homeless will soon have a new option for shelter.

After representing a number of rough sleepers in court, an Auckland barrister has been inspired to try and offer the city's most vulnerable a safe place to sleep.

"I recently moved into the city and these people became my neighbours and I became more aware of them," Jo Wickliffe said.

"I cant ignore it anymore."

A trust called Night Emergency Shelter Trust (NEST) has been formed, with high profile members such as Judge Grant Fraser and Michelle Kidd (QSM) on board.

"It's all that we can do for the homeless people, is provide that safe environment where they can lay their head and have a sleep, rather than be kicked, be urinated on, have beer poured on them," Ms Kidd of Te Rangimarie Charitable Trust said.

The night shelter's set to be in a three storey building which, once open, will be able to host 80 men and 40 women.

Security guards will be on duty each evening, and a building manager will live on site.

A recent street count in Auckland estimated 800 people are living rough or in cars.

Ms Kidd has been advocating for the homeless for 20 years, observing the numbers grow.

But she says hasn't seen people step up to do something about it.

The night shelter is hoped to compliment existing services provided by the Auckland City Mission.

"We can give them somewhere to stay the night, to regroup, to have a shower, get some food.. people can even go to work from here" said Ms Wickliffe.

The night shelter doors will open at 8pm and people will be expected to leave by 8am the following morning.

Ms Wickliffe says homeless people who want to stay will have to handover any drugs, alcohol or weapons such as knives that might be in their possession.

Funding is now needed to make the plans a reality.

"We need a lot of buy in from the community and from corporates and from central government and from the council," said Ms Wickliffe.

Doors are tracking to be open in time for winter.