A centre that provides breakfast and day accommodation for the homeless in Whangārei is looking at moving them in a motel during this lockdown.
Volunteers at Open Arms are reaching out to the homeless daily and dropping food while booking them for other necessities like showers at their facility on Robert St but it's shelter that's of most concern.
The centre set up an online fundraising page after its food bank stocks started running low on Friday due to exceptionally high demand for food parcels.
It is calling on the public to make an instant monetary donation to help meet the demand.
Liz Cassidy-Nelson, chief executive of 155 Community House that runs Open Arms, said unlike during last year's lockdown when the centre was open for the homeless to have a feed and shower, this time they were doing things differently.
"The outreach is for mainly rough sleepers. Not all need food but they all need a house. We still do showers at Open Arms with a stringent cleaning routine and shower times are booked during the outreach.
"There's a real likelihood the lockdown will be extended so we are actively looking at getting a motel because they should not be out on the streets. There are still a couple of motels post the last lockdown when there was a sinking lid policy where as we got them into homes, we'd close the rooms."
Cassidy-Nelson said between 20 and 40 homeless could be accommodated in a motel and they excluded people living in cars and couch surfing.
Open Arms is visiting about 32 rough sleepers every day and Cassidy-Nelson said volunteers have their confidence they would not tell anyone where they slept.
"Open Arms is not only about housing and kai but also that connection," she said.
Work is under way to turn a house in Whangārei into a much-needed transitional home that will provide accommodation and support for individuals or whānau in who urgently need a place to stay.
She said 155 Community House was looking for funds to purchase good quality, new items that will make it a home.
Meanwhile, Cassidy-Nelson is disappointed at the Whangārei District Council's decision not to allow those sleeping in cars to spend the night at the Pohe Island carpark as it has been converted into a Covid testing station.
WDC is advising those who cannot stay where they are and have nowhere else to go to move to the Otaika Sportsgrounds where toilets will remain open during alert level 4.
"It's extremely annoying the council is citing the Freedom Camping Bylaw not to allow people to stay at Pohe Island where they have safe lights whereas further down it's slightly out of town. These people are banned from sleeping anywhere else in the district."
Cassidy-Nelson said she would raise the issue with WDC.
Those wishing to donate to Open Arms' food bank can go to https://155-community-house.grassrootz.com/155-food-bank/donate.