Community unite in solidarity for homeless

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Around 1200 are expected to sleep in their cars overnight at Māngere Park in solidarity with homeless families.

There is around 30 volunteers setting up and around 1000 people are expected including opposition MPs like the Greens Marama Davidson and Labours Louisa Wall.

Park up for Homes is an event organised by community groups including Child Poverty Action Group and Lifewise to show support for people living in cars in Auckland.  I met some of those who have experienced this but have now found shelter at Te Puea Marae and also jobs.

Jackson is excited to be starting his new job today. However, two months ago, he and his whānau of seven were sleeping in their two vehicles.

“We all had to squeeze in like small, like space spans, and it was hard because we have a little sister, and she just use to wake up every morning crying, couldn't fit, squashing her,’ says Jackson.

The family fell on hard times after their home was broken into and they didn't feel safe staying there.

“We usually just went to Mangere Bridge.  Slept there, or just where ever we could put the cars really, so we could just sleep. Sometimes we drove around all night.”

Last week, Te Puea Marae spokesperson Hurimoana Dennis invited Māori employment service MUMA Mahi to help their needy families. The results are evident today.

Muma Mahi’s Business Development Manager Kylie Morgan says, “Incorporated with all the other ones that I've put through, 12 in total started work this morning.”

Jackson says, “Over the moon eh, just happy, knowing that I can make money for my family, start from square one, work my way up again.”

A solo dad and single mother who previously stayed at Te Puea Marae also have jobs at Te Ohu Kaimona.

Morgan says, “Just keep that continuous rolling support to help those whānau get out there and find housing as well as jobs, to sustain obviously housing.” 

MUMA Mahi will help the families at Te Puea as long as they're needed.