Some Wellingtonians will give up their beds tonight to spend 14 hours sleeping outside on cardboard, couches or in cars to help combat homelessness.
Source: 1 NEWS
The fourth annual 14 Hours Homeless event will see co-workers, friends and family members sleeping rough, with sponsorship to raise funds for projects helping tackle homelessness in the capital.
The Compassion Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army, Wellington City Mission, Wellington Night Shelter and Wellington Homeless Women's Trust, supported by Wellington City Council and Wellington Women's House have joined together to organise the event.
From 6pm tonight to 8am tomorrow, 14 Hours Homeless will also see people in other parts of the country experience homelessness by sleeping rough.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, who will be talking at a community sleepover event at Mt Cook School on Saturday morning, says a collaborative approach is needed to make a difference.
"The current housing situation has put more pressure on our most vulnerable residents, making it harder for them to secure and sustain proper accommodation," he said.
But he says the Te Mahana homeless strategy means the council is working with government agencies and non-profit organisations to come up with long-term solutions with a united approach, and is investing in more social housing.
The council estimates the number of rough sleepers in Wellington to be around 40.
Organisers of tonight's event say those seeking help from their agencies aren't just rough sleepers but include people in emergency accommodation, shelters and boarding houses, over-crowded homes and places without basic amenities.
With rising rent and food prices it's common for The Soup Kitchen to see people on minimum wage who are struggling to get by, or people on benefits who have little left after rent.