Rotorua's shelter for homeless women and children has been given $50,000 to start the New Year which will be used to provide extra social work support throughout 2019.

BayTrust approved the grant, made to Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust Rotorua, just before Christmas. Visions administrator Julia Fonotia says the money will be used to help pay for a second social worker who is now based at the Tarewa Rd shelter to help improve women's parenting and life skills so they can eventually move into a place of their own.

Visions administrator Julia Fonotia. Photo / Supplied
Visions administrator Julia Fonotia. Photo / Supplied

"It might be something as simple as helping them get a driver's licence so they don't rack up fines or get arrested," Fonotia said.

"Or helping them obtain identification like a birth certificate. Our social workers walk alongside them and give whatever help is needed. Organising safe car seats for babies, teaching cooking skills, or helping them sign up for drug and alcohol rehabilitation when they're ready.


"It is easy to provide shelter, food and other basic needs. However, the wrap-around services and education our social workers provide our wahine is what can inspire them to make positive long-lasting changes for their whānau."

The Tarewa Rd shelter opened in November 2017 and was an ex-hostel containing 68 beds and 18 individual rooms.

Fonotia said the facility was "always full" and women and their children might stay anywhere from a few nights to a few months until they could get back on their feet.

Support worker Sheen with the trust's van. Photo / Supplied
Support worker Sheen with the trust's van. Photo / Supplied

"Women become homeless for a wide variety of reasons, so there's never one simple solution.

"This grant from BayTrust is amazing. It really gives us freedom to use it where we need to because it's not tagged to a particular project or item. BayTrust has really believed in us from the start. They were our very first funder and they gave us hope we were going to get through and be able to succeed. We are most grateful for their ongoing support."

BayTrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes said strengthening whanau was a key priority for the organisation which was committed to helping make the Bay of Plenty "the greatest place to be".

"There's a wide variety of reasons why some people find themselves without a roof over their heads, and Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust Rotorua is doing a wonderful job of helping people improve their lives. Protecting tamariki, and supporting people to reach their full potential, will ultimately lead to a stronger community that benefits us all."