Te Tāpui Atawhai officially opens doors to homeless

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Te Tāpui Atawhai or Auckland City Mission has officially opened its new home.

Homeground, a project that has been over 10 years in the making, is located in the heart of the Auckland CBD and includes 80 permanent apartment homes – along with additional wrap-around services, for people on the social housing register.

“We are just incredibly excited to be able to open the space for our donors and our supporters to be part of the whānau and to see us in operation,” mission Kaiwhakahaere Māori Joanne Reidy says.

Already 65 apartments are full with half of the tenants Māori.

“If you can only imagine what it's like to not have a home and then to have a home? You're talking about people whohave a sense of belonging, a sense of safety and a sense of hope for the future,” Auckland City Mission chief executive Helen Robinson says.

Although Home Ground opened in February, Covid-19 restrictions delayed the official opening until now.

In addition to the apartments, the facility has a shared rooftop garden and residents' lounge, a health centre, a pharmacy and addiction withdrawal services.

The facility also has a community dining room which operates every day of the year, providing free meals to those in need.

Robinson expressed thanks to the government for the funding of the facility which she says cost around $110 million. She concluded her remarks by encouraging continued support for the kaupapa.

"Listen to the needs of those who are suffering the most, because that is the experience and the authenticity of which I stand here as the missioner. It's the coalition of thousands of people and stories of people who are suffering deeply."