Simon Collins is the Herald’s social issues reporter.

Auckland marae appeals for help to look after homeless families

An Auckland marae is appealing for help from the public to look after homeless families who have been shut out of the city's bursting housing market.

Te Puea Memorial Marae in Mangere Bridge, has opened its doors to the homeless from today and is working with other agencies to provide a new support programme for them, 'Manaaki Tangata'.

Workers were busy yesterday preparing bedding, and food has been donated from a local food bank.

A worker said two families called in to register this morning but had left for the day.

But marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis, a police inspector, said the marae needed more help from the public with koha putea (money), non-perishable foodstuffs, warm winter clothing for adults and children, blankets, "temporary accommodation options for immediate short-term placements" and "any resources that will provide relief and comfort to homeless whanau".

"From the outset we acknowledge that trying to manage and resolve a homeless whanau situation is challenging and complicated and we will work closely with whanau, agencies and community to help bring some relief, support and comfort to those whanau who need it," he said.

"Manaaki Tangata has a focus and priority of trying to bring some immediate short term relief to homeless whanau to meet the challenges and difficulties of a winter season that is now upon us. In saying this we also hope that our efforts will form the catalysts to support mandated and funded agencies to develop and seed long term options and plans for homeless whanau."

He said the new programme was inspired by Princess Te Puea Herangi, a Tainui leader who helped many homeless families during her life from 1884 to 1952.

"Her wishes to help all people continues today," Mr Dennis said.

The Te Puea Memorial Marae Manaaki Tangata will operate everyday from 8am to 7pm. Whanau can contact the Marae using the following details:

• Email: tepueamemorialmarae@gmail.com
• Phone: 09-636-7019
• Facebook: Te Puea Memorial Marae
• Address: Miro Street, Mangere Bridge, Auckland

- NZ Herald

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