12 Feb 2024

New shower and washing machine service for homeless in Porirua

8:32 pm on 12 February 2024
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File photo: Orange Sky's mobile shower and washing machine service. Photo: Orange Sky/Supplied

A new shower and washing machine service for homeless people has opened up in Porirua.

The charity Orange Sky expanded its free mobile service into the city of Porirua, in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira and the Porirua City Council.

It operated five vans across Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch, each equipped with two washing machines, two dryers and a hot shower.

The mayor of Porirua, Anita Baker, said the new shower and washing machine was desperately needed.

"Being clean is a human right," she said.

Baker said there had been an increase in the numbers of homeless in Porirua, many people have mental health problems and there was a need for more social services such as Orange Sky.

"If it leads to wraparound services being involved to help our most vulnerable community members too, all the better."

Mana MP Barbara Edmonds said the service, which has been operating in the Wellington region since 2019, has done an amazing job.

"It's really awesome to see them in Porirua," she said.

"It's good to see Orange Sky, Ngāti Toa and the Porirua City Council giving back dignity to those who are homeless."

According to the latest available Census data, 1.6 percent of those deemed severely housing deprived, across all territorial authorities in New Zealand, reside in Porirua. This included those without shelter and people living in temporary accommodation, shared accommodation, and uninhabitable housing.

Edmonds said there are various reasons why people become homeless, but ultimately Porirua needed more housing and housing solutions.

Iwi organisation Te Rūnanga O Toa Rangatira whānau ora manager Sue Hughes said the service was really needed in the area.

"With the access to these resources, I think a lot of our whānau are going to be helped out," she said.

Since launching in 2018, Orange Sky has completed more than 19,200 loads of washing and provided 10,276 hot showers.

Senior impact manager Kat Doughty said they have witnessed an overwhelming demand for support and services across the motu.

"As part of our mission to support the nation's most vulnerable communities, we undertake thorough research and community consultation to help us identify where our support is needed most."

"It's going to help the community who are facing some really tough challenges, so not just our rough sleepers, but our whānau who are really struggling to get clean laundry and safe warm showers."

The van will be parked up at 10 Hagley Street, Porirua City Centre every Monday from 10:30am to 12:30pm.

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