A lot of people said you can’t do that… but they did

helping hand

Rotorua has the second-highest number of homeless people in New Zealand. Only Auckland has more.

In 2017 Tiny Deane decided to do something about it. Everyone told him he wouldn’t be able to.

But he was not put off. He and his wife Lynley sold their rental property and remortgaged their family home to establish the Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust.

The purpose of the trust is to provide safe, secure facilities that are adequately staffed to support homeless individuals including women and children.

In less than 10 months Visions of a Helping Hand had opened a shelter, then another and another.

There are now shelters for single women with children in Rotorua and Taupo and a night-shelter in Rotorua.

And they have even bigger plans.

“This year, it’s all about building houses. So we’re gonna try and build 20 before Christmas, then 25 every year,” says Tiny.

Why did they do it?

“It’s about social conscience. When I grew up I can’t remember there being a homeless situation in New Zealand and we believe that everybody should have a roof over their head,” Lynley recently told The Project.

“I don’t know. Both me and my wife are still talking about it,” Tiny told Stuff in an interview, last year.

One root cause originated almost a decade ago. That was when Deane, then a truck driver, suffered an accident that changed his life.

He said it left him lucky to be alive, and he persevered with the only job he’d ever wanted to do.

“I just wanted to take it to the bitter end, and that came last year.”

But he had to give it up because his surgeon was concerned about the strain the work was placing on Tiny’s ankle which was damaged in the accident.

He told Tiny – “find another career”. So he did.


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News category: New Zealand.

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