Why New Zealanders experiencing homelessness need more support than ever

Orange Sky New Zealand, a not-for-profit organisation helping people experiencing homelessness, says its services and support for the community has doubled in the last 12 months.

Orange Sky NZ’s Operations Manager, Eddie Uini and his team of more than 160 volunteers, welcome friends [people experiencing homelessness] with a warm smile, genuine and non-judgemental conversation, and access to free laundry and shower services by way of their two distinctive orange vans operating in Wellington and Auckland.

The service has supported many new faces since the pandemic first broke last year, with the number of shifts, loads of washing and warm showers having doubled since February 2020. 

Worryingly, Orange Sky volunteers have noticed an increase in the number of families with one or more incomes using their services. For those who were already doing it tough, Covid has dealt the final blow.

New Zealand Operations Manager Eddie Uini says it’s becoming much harder for these families to make ends meet. 

“If they can save money on power and water by using our laundry and shower services, it means they will have a little extra to put food on the table,” he said. “Some of these families have one or more incomes and still find it difficult to afford the basic necessities that most of us take for granted. People shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table or doing a load of laundry. Even if we can save them $10, it makes a real difference. Orange Sky exists because we believe that everyone deserves access to basic hygiene.”

What’s more, is that this level of demand is expected to increase further in the coming months. With Autumn approaching and colder weather looming, those doing it tough will rely on Orange Sky’s services to help keep sleeping bags and blankets dry and warm in the wet months.

“We see a lot more sickness in the cooler months and we know how hard it is for our friends to stay dry, warm and safe without a roof over their heads,” says Eddie.  

As demand grows, Orange Sky is focused on ensuring their services remain sustainable to continue to provide much needed support now and into the future. They need to raise widespread awareness and have just launched a long planned fundraising campaign for March/April asking Kiwis to lend them a hand by way of donations. 

For Kiwi’s who are able to lend a hand, they can help by visiting: orangesky.org.nz/donate.

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