Kyra is the Rotorua Daily Post's police, emergency and court reporter.

Sleeping rough for a good cause

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Sleeping under the stars sounds romantic, but not if you're homeless.

Last year Lifewise Rotorua held a big sleepout for the community to raise awareness around homelessness - and it's happening again next month.

Haehaetu Barrett, service manager at Lifewise Mental Health & Addictions Services, said the sleepout was about making the Homelessness Action Plan come alive.

"We launched the plan in February and have had a number of meetings about who could do what, but there's just not enough resources. We are all trying to do bits of the plan.

"It's about getting the community working together, it has to be sustainable with people not pulling away."

Last year, at the inaugural Rotorua event, leaders from the community, iwi representatives and political parties helped to raise $36,000.

Over the last year, a portion of those funds have been awarded as a one-off grant to Rotorua groups and communities that have shown dedication and commitment to the four strands of the Rotorua Homeless Action Plan 2015-2016 - prevention, intervention, integrated support work and independence.

Each group has received $5000.

So far, the grant funding has been awarded to Love Soup Rotorua, Waiariki Women's Refuge, Rotorua CFM, St Lukes, Rotorua Salvation Army and Rotorua Shake Up Youth Service.

On October 20, at the Lifewise Big Community Sleepout Rotorua, each group will present to all participants how they used this grant.

The Lifewise Big Community Sleepout Rotorua will be held on the south end of Kuirau Park, directly outside the Rotorua Aquatic Centre.

This is an R18 event (children are not allowed) and to ensure the safety and security of all participants, the area will be fenced with security and Maori Wardens.

For more information about the event and to register go to

Lifewise Rotorua (Shane Unuwai and Haehaetu Barrett)
Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao (Te Pae Fitzell and Neihana Mackey)
Rotorua Lakes Council Trust Council (Recreation and Events Team)
Rotorua Ending Homelessness Action Group Committee

- Rotorua Daily Post

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