“We’re all in this together and we can’t forget that”

We recently got to know one of our first volunteers a little bit better.

Josie has a degree in chemical engineering, she’s a mother and an Aucklander. As we found out, she’s also got a lot of aroha and care for her community and its people.

Josie was born in Auckland. This is her home and it seems the city always pulls her back.

“I grew up here and have only left a few times. Once to study engineering in Christchurch, another time to work in Hamilton, and then to work in London.”

Josie lives with her family in the Royal Oak/Onehunga area and said she often sees people who appear to be living without shelter in the area.

“I think homelessness has really increased in New Zealand and it’s been a real change. I’m not sure we know how to address it, but understanding the problem will help.”

Josie found out about Ira Mata, Ira Tangata: Auckland’s Homeless Count in a story written by the New Zealand Herald and decided this was something she wanted to help with.

“Everyone has their causes they like to support and for me, one of those is ending homelessness. I just think it feels so wrong that the most vulnerable people in our communities are always at the bottom.”

For Josie, volunteering for Auckland’s Homeless Count is a way to give back to the community and help people who are living without shelter.

“Community is really important to me. We’re all in this together and we can’t forget that.”

Amy Donovan is the project manager for Auckland’s Homeless Count. She agreed with Josie and said that volunteering for Auckland’s Homeless Count is a really tangible way people can help end homelessness in Auckland.

“To solve an issue, you first need to accurately understand it. The findings from the count will provide a greater understanding of unsheltered homelessness in Auckland. We’ll get a better understanding of how many people are living without shelter, how long people have been living without shelter, how many people are living in cars, how many are families, whether people are employed and if they have access to benefits.”

Amy explained that this anonymous information can then be used to support services, community organisations, Iwi and government to have informed discussions about which resources are needed so they can support more people into housing and work towards ending homelessness in Auckland.

“We really couldn’t do this without the support of people like Josie and everyone else who has registered to volunteer. With their support, we’ll be able to reach out to more people across the region and build a better understanding of the needs of people living without shelter in Auckland.”

Two weeks since the count was announced, 300 people have registered to volunteer. Amy is thrilled by the commitment and support that has come from so many people across Auckland, but said we still have a long way to go.

“We need approximately 750 volunteers, so we really encourage anyone who is interested to find out more, get in touch, and register to volunteer on our website.”

“Anyone can volunteer. We’re also looking for people with experience in the social sector or of living without shelter to register to volunteer as a team leader,” she said.

Find out more and register to volunteer. Registrations close 31 August 2018.