Small Rotorua community oppose homeless shelter

updated By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A small Rotorua community is opposing the establishment of a shelter home for homeless women and children in their neighbourhood.  Some of the opposing residents say they are concerned about the noise the shelter may bring to their quiet street.

The proposed shelter site is only a stone’s throw away from 80-year-old Angelene Carl and her husband's tranquil backyard.

Five weeks ago Ms Carl obtained signatures from nine neighbours in support of a letter to the Rotorua Lakes Council opposing the shelter.

Pare Bray said, “When this couple came around with the petition, they say, "You want it or not?" I said no.”

Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust run by Tiny Deane hoped to open the former hostel for 18 homeless whānau this month but cancelled the scheduled opening when it still hadn’t received council sign off.

In a statement, Rotorua Lakes Council told Te Kāea they are working closely with Mr Deane, but are unable to comment further as consenting process is still underway.  

Meanwhile, some neighbours who earlier opposed have had a change of heart.

“We agreed with them that we'd sign their petition because we were unsure.  So now that they've started the process then I'm ready to support those mothers and families that are in this situation of homelessness.  Looking at the problem we have for our people, mainly our people homeless.  I'm concerned about our own, we've got enough with our tamariki being abused and so this is one way of helping them. I'm for it now,” said Mr Bray.

Ms Carl says if the application is approved she will not oppose it.