Homeless people deserve respect. That was the message sent out to the community during today's protest in South Auckland, highlighting the abuse and negative treatment of Manurewa's homeless population.
Homeless couple Shiloh and Lewis say they have both been verbally and physically abused on the street, they share their thoughts:
"Talk nicely, be nice because we're not hurting anyone. We're not here to commit crimes we're trying to live our lives."
"Unfortunately homelessness will never stop after we go and get a home, someone else is going to come in and fill this gap."
March organizer Debbie Munroe says rough sleepers are being trespassed from public areas without being given an alternative. She's calling for a 24 hour center for the homeless.
"They get trespassed, they get given a court summons, they've got to go to court. Nine times out of ten it's thrown out of court. What a waste of money. That money could go towards building a boarding house or an all-night cafe where these guys can sit," says Munroe.
Last year Auckland Council estimated there were 24,000 homeless in the region. Local dairy owner Ish Morar says the issue is right on his doorstep.
Morar says, "Be a better solution for them to find a social place outside of the city center, it'll keep Manurewa tidier."
Green MP Marama Davidson was there, she says it's the government's responsibility to solve New Zealand's housing crisis.
"I know that it's my responsibility as a member of Parliament to fix the housing crisis in New Zealand."
Lewis says, "We're all human and we all deserve a bit of respect and a bit of love."
Debbie Munroe says protests will continue until the human rights of homeless in Manurewa are respected.