365 days of the year, the Mission opens its doors for Central Auckland’s homeless community.
We’ve recently made some major changes to our services, so we can better support the community we work with. Our homeless community service (now known as Haeata) aims to provide nutritious meals in a safe, welcoming environment where everyone is known by name. Haeata is a place where people can re-build networks and access support to sustained wellbeing. During meal times, we have dedicated, trained staff engaging with every individual and providing practical pathways out of homelessness.
Previously, we relied on pre-prepared food donations which we re-heated and served.
Now, for the first time in Mission history, we have a full-time cook and commercial kitchen. We are lucky enough to have secured a regular food donor and can now plan and prepare nutritious meals for the community we serve. We have reflected on the impacts of poor nutrition on rough sleepers, and have changed our services to ensure we can provide good quality, nourishing meals. Because of the changes, we no longer require one-off donations of cooked, perishable foods.
The name Haeata was gifted to us by our kaumatua (Māori elder). Haeata translates to ‘the breaking of the dawn’, and is a space in which we stand together with those in need. In this space, we uphold our Mission values of manaakitanga, justice (manatika) and partnership (rangapū).
Now that we are at Level 1, our new Haeata opening hours and protocols are:
- Open every day from 8.00am – 11.00am for a hot breakfast
- We will be maintaining a maximum of 40 people at one sitting by utilising at ‘one in’ and ‘one out’ process
- Lunch packs will be available on the way out of Haeata with a Koha (coin) system in place.
The Mission runs a comprehensive activities programme, connecting homeless people back into the community and contributing to developing their sense of identity and self-worth and teaching them new skills.
These activities and workshops are primarily led by volunteers and subjects range from drama, photography and pottery, to carving, fishing, cooking and gardening. Feedback on these activities has been overwhelmingly positive, with many clients opting to participate in more than one.
Stephen* has been sleeping rough for a number of years. His family have all moved overseas and he battles substance abuse, physical and mental health issues. The Mission has helped Stephen in various ways; however he says the sense of community provided by the Mission’s Activities Programme has made the biggest difference to his general wellbeing. Stephen is a member of the Homeless Committee, something which he says has given him a focus and a sense of responsibility. He recently helped to organise a hangi for the Mission’s homeless clients, which was a huge success.
*Client’s name has been changed for privacy reasons