A Tauranga trust is celebrating after finding a building for a women's shelter in the city, but there is still a long road ahead as it now looks to secure funding.
Angela Wallace, the chairwoman of He Kaupapa Kotahitanga Trust Tauranga, said the trust had verbal confirmation on a long-term lease for a 13-bedroom building in the Avenues area.
The building's owner, which did not want to be identified to protect the address of the property, confirmed this to the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday.
"We have made a verbal offer to lease a building to He Kaupapa Kotahitanga Trust Tauranga. This is subject to agreeing terms and conditions and signing a formal contract and that process is ongoing."
Wallace said the shelter would be called Awhina House and would provide "a safe place to sleep and ongoing support for the displaced women of Tauranga Moana".
She said the only shelter currently available in the city was the men-only Tauranga Moana Nightshelter, which opened in 2014.
There were still a lot of details to work out for the women's shelter, Wallace said, including funding, but the trust hoped to open it next year.
She said the trust, which registered in August, planned to appeal to the local community, philanthropists and businesses as well as apply for funding from charitable trusts, the Government and the Tauranga City Council.
The Bay of Plenty Times yesterday contacted the Ministry of Social Development and the city council about the women's shelter and asked whether they would consider funding the facility.
Meagan Holmes, manager of community development at the council, said the council had been working with the trust and was pleased to hear it had secured a premise.
"We will continue to work closely with them as they work towards opening the shelter."
Mike Bryant, the ministry's Bay of Plenty regional commissioner, said the ministry had met with the trust and supported "the good work they're doing in Tauranga".
"As well as talking with the He Kaupapa Kotahitanga Trust, we've also been talking with other groups about the possibility of a woman's night shelter in the area," he said.
"It's early on in the process and we're still working through this opportunity with those who are interested. We're very supportive of any initiative in the housing area."
Hazel Hape, manager of Tauranga Women's Refuge, welcomed the news about the women's shelter building.
"Every week we receive calls for assistance with accommodation, housing and homelessness," she said.
"As we are a domestic violence specialist agency we refer such calls to the five emergency housing providers in Tauranga and Work Income New Zealand and yet there is still a demand."
She said over the past month, her organisation has been providing advice, information, support and expertise to the team behind the Tauranga women's shelter.
Hape said the Women's Refuge got involved "after becoming concerned that even with emergency housing provider services, women were still homeless and seeking support".
Tania Lewis-Rickard, one of the He Kaupapa Kotahitanga trustees, said it was "flippin' awesome" to have secured a building after coming up against so many obstacles in the process.
Sacha Williams, who had to sleep on a Mount Maunganui beach after escaping a violent relationship six years ago, reacted to the news by saying: "It's a bloody long time coming."
Meanwhile, the women's shelter milestone comes as the council prepares to vote on whether to adopt a bylaw restricting begging and rough sleeping in the Tauranga, Greerton and Mount Maunganui CBDs.
The vote will take place this afternoon.