The lives of some of Rotorua's rough sleepers have been turned around as the alert level 4 lockdown brings accommodation and employment.
For one, who has spent more than half of his life on the streets, the lockdown has fast-tracked his goals of having accommodation and a job, working towards seeing his youngest daughter.
When the country moved to level 4 Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust helped put 200 people into two motels in Rotorua and three in Taupō.
Twelve have also found employment with Te Puke packhouses, including five men at Trevelyan Packhouse.
The trust secured the work for the group in an attempt to encourage them to use this time in lockdown to turn their lives around.
The trust initially covered the fuel costs to take the newly employed to work for their night shifts starting at 6.30pm.
But after two weeks of regular income those who were homeless and jobless just one month ago have started covering the costs themselves.
Among them is Te Hemara Pou, 41, who was homeless on and off for 26 years and left the gang life six years ago.
"I was fully into crime and gang life ... I got pretty high on the ladder," he said.
"It was easier for me.
"I never aspired to be a working man."
Leaving the gang had not been easy because the criminal activity provided him with an income.
The last time he had a job was in 1996 working at a gas station, doing one-off jobs.
But just two weeks into the lockdown, he had his first shift at the packhouse.
It all happened with a stroke of luck. Pou came to Rotorua from Hamilton the week before lockdown, having met Tiny Deane of Visions of a Helping Hand two years ago when he was last in Rotorua.
Pou now earns twice what he was receiving from a Ministry of Social Development benefit.
When his first pay came in, Pou treated himself to icecream, chocolate, meat and cigarettes. He said now he had more money, he was also able to share more with others.
Adjusting to life with a roof over his head also meant remembering things some may take for granted, like turning off the stove or closing the fridge, he said.
Once the lockdown restrictions were eased, Pou planned to continue working at the packhouse and find a rental. He said he was fortunate to have the support to do so.
He was also getting closer to being able to see his youngest of two daughters who he'd been unable to see in his previous situation.
"The epidemic just put things in place for us, getting the motel and a job within the three weeks of the lockdown.
"I never thought it would happen in the five-year plan that I had."
But like everyone, the epidemic was a struggle and Pou said isolation played a toll on his usual sense of freedom and independence.
Deane said an inability to access harmful substances in lockdown, combined with access to the support they needed meant some of those now housed in motels were unrecognisable - and for the better.
Whether it was their ability to hold a conversation or maintain genuine eye contact or having clean clothes.
Deane said the motels had been used as a one-stop-shop for support including from two of the trust's social workers, security, police, a psychiatrist from Te Ngako and nurses.
"They've been magic for us," Deane said.
"The spin-off of this Covid-19, for us, for the homeless and rough sleeping, is going to be amazing.
"It's a blessing in disguise for our people because we're showing them now how they should be living."
The people he housed either suffered mental health or addiction and Deane said although some fell back into the comfort of their addiction, others had stayed clean.
"When we come out the other side we're going to be 10 years ahead of ourselves."
Trevelyan Packhouse managing director James Trevelyan said he was thrilled to be part of the network of support helping change lives during tough times.
"I'm absolutely delighted we can help them stepping up on what may be an exciting journey that can help better themselves and their partners and families."
Trevelyan human resource manager Jodi Johnson said of the 12 who had started working, five remained, and they showed initiative in getting themselves to Te Puke for the interviews and induction.
"They have slipped seamlessly into the team and are doing a great. We are seeing their confidence build day on day."
Trevelyan is still taking applications.
Hennessy's Irish Bar owner Reg Hennessy, who had long called for action on crime and intimidation by some of Rotorua's homeless and rough sleepers, said having some of them now off the streets and with work, "it's got to be a good thing".
But Hennessy questioned what would happen to these people once the lockdown was lifted and stressed the importance that they had accommodation and support post-lockdown.
Rotorua police acting area commander Inspector Phil Taikato said the police had a good working relationship with the trust.
"Our confidence in what Tiny [Deane] is trying to do with the homeless has increased. We will continue to support his endeavours to help those people."