Whangarei is to open a day shelter for homeless in part of the city's old army barracks.
The government has agreed the Walton Street premises can be converted into a day centre, with initial funding of $40,000 from the Ministry of Social Development and Te Puni Kōkiri.
Manager of 155 Community House Carol Peters said the city's homeless would not be able to stay overnight, but would be able to get a meal, have a shower, wash their clothes and see a doctor or social workers.
She said the day centre and funding was cause for celebration but was just a start.
Dr Peters said people should not be living in cars and garages in Whangarei and she wanted the centre to function as a triage point where they could be helped into housing.
Churches and businesses and tradespeople have already been generous with offers to help repair and refurbish the old building but the centre will need all the voluntary help it can get to make it habitable.