Free doctor's appointments, new clothing, laundry services, haircuts and showers will be available to Rotorua's homeless at a one-stop shop set to open in the city.
Tiny Deane and his advocacy trust, Visions of a Helping Hand, have subleased a former gym and a laundromat two doors from his night shelter for the homeless on Pukuatua St to create the expanded operation.
But a local retailer has criticised the move, saying city leaders needed to consider: "Are they happy to let Rotorua become New Zealand's capital for street people?"
The new centre will be called Mana Aroha Whare and run to the philosophy that once their wairua (spirit or soul) is fulfilled, homeless people would be more open to further help.
Inside, new and second-hand donated clothing fill the racks and drawers stacked with soaps, fresh underwear, razors and sanitary products line the walls.
Showers, washing machines, dryers and small offices that will be turned into consultancy rooms are also in the premises.
Deane believes that if the homeless are "well-presented", they will feel more "uplifted" and be more "respected" by the public.
"These people will get a better perspective on what they can be ... we are supporting a solution here."
Several doctors and nurses have volunteered to come in for a few hours a week and help people. Many homeless people will be rostered to help with tasks such as washing and keeping the donated clothing area flowing.
Deane said several Rotorua business leaders, who wished to remain anonymous, had pledged to back the project, along with money his trust already had.
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Deane said he had also struck a deal with several local accommodation providers that had agreed to pay the homeless to wash, dry and press their daily linen too.
When asked what he thought about a possible community pushback from the shelter expanding in the CBD, Deane said he could not understand why because the trust was doing was "a good thing".
"People will notice a difference in the homeless community once we get this going."
Honey Comb Salon owner Sarah Pearson, a nearby business owner, said if the premises was "well-controlled" then it was a great idea.
Pearson had previously spoken out about feeling unsafe because of antisocial behaviour in the CBD but said things were looking up after what she believed had been a heavier police presence over summer.
Pearson already cut the hair of many homeless people and said their general aura and behaviour changed when they felt good about themselves.
"How much better do you feel after having a shower, washing your hair and getting into clean clothes?"
But Hennessy's Irish Bar owner Reg Hennessy disagreed.
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He said the decision to expand the homeless services in the central city would cause major harm.
"I am disappointed to think that after all the problems Rotorua has already suffered in the last 18 months with street people and from having a shelter in the heart of the city that we would now be looking at doubling its size.
"Are they happy to let Rotorua become New Zealand's capital for street people?"
He said many business operators were just trying to look after their staff and customers.
A Ministry of Housing and Urban Development spokesman said it was encouraging to see people from the community, such as Deane, reaching out to help the most vulnerable.
He said finding a balance between the long-term goal of increasing public housing supply with the need to provide immediate support to vulnerable individuals who find themselves without a home was essential.
The ministry has a contract with Deane's Visions Of A Helping Hand trust.
The Rotorua Lakes Council was unable to comment on the opening of Mana Aroha Whare because it had not been made aware of the plans for the subleased buildings, a spokeswoman said.
The new premises will officially open today with a grand opening in a few months.
'So much empowerment within these walls'
When the Rotorua Daily Post went to Mana Aroha Whare, homeless woman Helen Patawai was inside ironing donated clothing.
Patawai said she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness while living on the streets.
She told the Rotorua Daily Post she had been clean from substances for eight years.
Initially, she was reluctant to seek help, but Deane helped her and let her sleep at the shelter after she received medical treatment.
"He just gave me a bit of his time and listened ... it made all the difference for me."
Patawai said the homeless community responded best to positive attitudes and fully backed the vision behind Mana Aroha Whare.
She said she liked to come down and help as it gave her purpose while she was recovering.
She believed the services the new building provided "would work" as "positive people who care" were everything.
"There is so much empowerment within these walls."
She said it was a slow process for many people and the little things that made them feel human were vital.
"If it means people will give us a smile rather than a snarl, I'm all for it."