Social services rush to help homeless as lockdown begins

Street sleepers and boarding house residents are among other vulnerable groups who’ll need help navigating the lockdown. 

Your playlist will load after this ad

As the nationwide coronavirus lockdown starts today, residents are ordered to stay in their homes. But not all have homes. Source: 1 NEWS

Social services are working together to put a safe plan in place to ensure no one is overlooked. 

Freshly bagged meals for those in need is just one of the ways coronavirus is forcing Auckland City Mission to change how it needs its people. 

“Instead of the communal meal setting, we have prepared takeaway meals. One package a day for one day,” says Chris Farrelly from the Auckland City Mission. 

These individual servings are replacing the City Mission’s usual meals, served sitting down together. 

“At the moment we’re preparing about 400 a day and we will grow them if necessary,” says Mr Farrelly. 

In the Bay of Plenty, Pip Brook and Tracy Carlton are also just as determined to keep feeding the vulnerable. 

“This is really hard on the people we look after because they’re already marginalised and vulnerable…they get overlooked with everything,” says Pip Brook from Street Kai. 

Ms Brook says their work is an essential service and they’ll implement changes in order to keep going and feeding the homeless of Tauranga. 

“You pretty much just say it, say look the situation is really dire. This isn’t a personal thing, we have to keep our distance for your safety,” she explains. 

Last census showed more than 3,000 people are homeless in New Zealand and now the virus is pushing housing and community providers to find extra accommodation. 

Auckland City Mission is also providing on-the-spot health care in a bid to protect the vulnerable. 

“The same information that the Ministry of Health put out is exactly information that we are promoting down here on the ground,” says City Mission nurse Anna Faalenu. 

It seems that the information for these at risk people, seems to be slowly getting through as the government's lock down applies to everyone, including those on the streets. . 

We’re able now to provide more motel units, so we’re able to say we now have a place today. Please would you consider coming in there,” says Chris Farrelly.

Around 15 homeless people answered yes today, boosting their chances of riding out the Covid-19 storm.