Community help is needed to fix up a venue which will serve as a day shelter for the estimated 100 people who make up Whangārei's homeless population.

A major section of the old Army Hall on Robert St will be renovated to provide basic amenities to the city's homeless.

The other part of the building is the Hundertwasser project's recycling centre for items being removed from the Old Harbour Board building.

The day shelter is the realisation of a dream for Whangārei woman Carrie Kake, who has been helping homeless people, both in her own home and the community, for 40 years.


She was "feeling very emotional" and lost for words at a blessing for the premises yesterday which saw representatives from a host of social and community organisations gather.

"Big things will happen here. Healing will be done in this place," Kake said.

"From today, it's rolling up our sleeves and getting to work so people can benefit from this building."

Meanwhile, Kake said she is still working on establishing a night shelter for Whangārei's homeless and has "two things on the table at the moment".

Part of the old Army building on Robert St will be renovated and used as a day shelter for the homeless. Photo/John Stone
Part of the old Army building on Robert St will be renovated and used as a day shelter for the homeless. Photo/John Stone

The day shelter will have a kitchen, a dining room and a lounge area. Visitors to the shelter will be able to eat, have a shower and do washing.

She said the shelter would "give love out" as well as matching people up with healthcare, housing and other services. "You want to feel love? come to this place."

One Double Five Community House community development worker Carol Peters said she was "really, really thrilled to be part of Whangārei" after the announcement.

"It's an indication of us working together to do something important for us."

She said the paint for the walls was being donated, but the centre still needed donations of building materials, cleaning materials such as mops and buckets as well as stoves, washing machines, tables, paint brushes and rollers and computers if possible.

Peters said nobody should be homeless, living with children in cars, moving schools all the time or choosing food over electricity.

She said the building is managed by Colliers on behalf of LINZ. The drop-in centre would not pay rent, but would pay expenses.

Peters said they were also on the lookout for anyone who might be able to sponsor the shelter's electricity.

They had a "small amount" of funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Te Puni Kōkiri.

The pair are hoping to get the drop in centre open as soon as possible, once the repairs are completed.

The Ministry of Social Development's March 2018 Housing quarterly report showed there were 328 people in Northland on the social housing register. There are an estimated 100 people homeless in Whangārei.

Anyone who can donate items, or help with the shelter's renovation can contact One Double Five Community House.