TODAY |

'This is my home now' - community workers double down to find homeless residents place to sleep

When a rough sleeper died on the steps of a Manurewa church last winter, community workers doubled down to find homeless residents somewhere to sleep.

For one man trying to make it happen, building relationships is his first step and it's paying off.

LinkPeople relationship manager Rami Alrudaini hopes small talk on the street can lead to bigger things.

"You're kind of just starting from nothing, just getting to know people, and often making miracles happen."

This is part of his work, trying to get homeless South Aucklanders into their own homes.

The issue came sharply into focus when Haami Manahi died on the steps of a church in Manurewa.

"We lost a bro through homelessness."

LinkPeople counted 30 homeless people in Manurewa following the death.

They've rehomed nine from the suburb and 30 across the region.

However, for Mr Alrudaini, it can take months to build up trust.

"They may have a background in mental health, they may have lived with an addiction, they may have trauma from earlier on in life, relationship breakdowns, family breakdowns that lead them to become homeless."

Billie-Jo Popata said she lost her house and kids so she ended up on the streets.

Ms Popata has been homeless for four years.

"We sleep under sheds, in churches, empty houses. You say whatever, we sleep in it."

Another formerly homeless person, who wanted to be known only as John, is now living under his own roof and he has never been more house-proud.

"You keep your house clean so when visitors come around they don't moan about things," he says.

"This is my home now I love it here."

The issue can sharply into focus when Haami Manahi died on church steps. Source: 1 NEWS


More From