Organisations and volunteers working with the homeless in Tauranga are lobbying for a women's night shelter and day drop-in centre in the city.

They already have the support of the city's mayor and two local Government MPs, but are now seeking funding and buildings for the two facilities.

Angela Wallace, a member of the newly-formed Community Angels collective, said they were concerned about the council's proposed rough sleeping restrictions and what they would mean for vulnerable people living on the street, especially women.

"If they're forced out of the CBD and into places that are not as safe, it makes them even more vulnerable than they already are."


Sleeping in the CBD and around shops was deemed safer because of lighting, security and surveillance cameras, she said.

Wallace acknowledged similar proposals had been made in the past, but said the need was now greater because of the proposed council bylaw.

She said people working with the homeless were also seeing new women turn up every week at community meals.

"These are our sisters, these are our mothers, these are our grandmothers. We are talking face to face a couple of times a week and they don't have anywhere to go; there are no options for them."

Wallace said the group was considering commissioning a feasibility study – which a local trust had said it could pay for – and had also engaged the Ministry of Social Development with the proposals.

She encouraged the Tauranga community to come forward with ideas, suggestions and support.

"Tauranga is the only main centre to not have a shelter for women – Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton, Auckland and Rotorua all have women's shelters."

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless had met twice with the collective and said he supported both proposals, but the money would have to come from the Government as it was a social welfare issue and was not something ratepayers should pay for.


Tauranga-based Labour MPs Jan Tinetti and Angie Warren-Clark had also met with the group, which Tinetti said had already done an impressive amount of work towards establishing both centres.

"We have committed to raising these ideas with the appropriate Ministers and we are keen to see the results of a feasibility study the group are looking at commissioning."

Asked what the likelihood was of the Government funding the facilities, Tinetti said: "I'm not certain yet".

She said the Government was already making a large investment in the Housing First project in Tauranga, and the feasibility study was important as it would provide strong evidence of the need within the city.

"Both Angie and I see both projects as complementary to existing provisions so will be advocating for them."

Warren-Clark said she was keen to see a women's (and children's) emergency shelter in Tauranga.

"Obviously getting a house to live in is the best solution for homeless women and children – so the shelter is not at all about an either-or option but provides an immediate support where necessary."

The Community Angels collective, which formed following the hīkoi for the homeless in Tauranga last month, can be contacted at

The collective includes groups that help feed the homeless in Tauranga, Tauranga Women's Refuge, people from social work and counselling backgrounds, local churches, and local iwi.

What is being proposed?
•A day drop-in centre: Needs to be centrally located in Tauranga and have a kitchen and toilets.
•A women's night shelter: Preferably in central Tauranga and ideally already set up as accommodation (backpackers, hostel, boarding house, or a large house with lots of bedrooms).