Wellington's homeless now have an additional 38 self-contained units so they can sleep in separate bedrooms during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The units are in a private property and have been secured for two months, with the option to extend if required.

Wellington Night Shelter houses 40 men each night on average, but the accommodation is communal and dormitory living making physical distancing difficult.

Therefore, 20 residents are being moved to the new facility allowing for those remaining at the shelter to have separate bedrooms.


The remaining capacity will be filled from referrals from the Emergency Welfare team.

Wellington City Council community services manager Jenny Rains said it was almost impossible for people to self-isolate when they were living on the streets.

"This co-ordinated approach is aiming to ensure that no one slips through the gaps, and they have some long-term security as we navigate through this turbulent time."

Wellington City Mission will manage the facility, which has been named Te Paapori.

The cost of the accommodation will be covered by the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

The Compassion Soup Kitchen is making double the number of meals it was last week. Photo / Supplied.
The Compassion Soup Kitchen is making double the number of meals it was last week. Photo / Supplied.

City Missioner Murray Edridge said it was a big effort to set up the space in such a short time frame.

"Everyone in the community is facing challenges at this time, but for those that are homeless, these challenges are magnified significantly.

"Te Paapori will be a whare for the most vulnerable to call home and self-isolate in, while providing them with wrap-around support from a place of Kaupapa Māori."


Meanwhile, the Compassion Soup Kitchen is making double the number of meals it was last week.

The soup kitchen has been providing meals for Wellington's disadvantaged for 118 years and is rising to challenge of Covid-19, just as it did during the 1918 flu pandemic.

Manager Gary Sutton said they were making 150 meals a day, up from 70 last week, as well as providing for women's and men's night shelters.

Under the alert level 4 Ministry of Health guidelines, the kitchen is deemed an essential service but meals are not allowed to be served at its communal dining facility.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Food now has to be collected from outside the kitchen one-by-one and Wellington City Council has supplied a marquee to provide people with shelter.

City council community well-being portfolio leader councillor Fleur Fitzsimons said the operation was remarkable.

"History shows that when the going gets tough, the tough get going – and the team at the Soup Kitchen are proving they are the salt of the earth right now."

But council resilience advisor Brittany Rymer warned food charity organisations across Wellington have reported a notable uptake in need over the past few weeks.

"Organisations like Compassion have had to work super hard and get creative to keep delivering their emergency food services, as many of their typical food supply lines like surplus stock from grocery stores, cafes and farmers markets, have become unavailable. Right now they need public support."

Because of restrictions in place at alert level 4 Covid-19, financial donations are the best way to help others in need:

• To donate to Compassion Soup Kitchen click here
• To donate to Wellington City Mission click here
• To donate to Kaibosh click here
• To donate to Kiwi Community Assistance click here