Auckland City Mission has new home

Ten years after the Auckland City Mission – Te Tāpui Atawhai – began working on finding a new home, it has finally opened its doors.

Called HomeGround, Auckland City Missioner Helen Robinson (pictured at the new facility) says its new one-stop health and social services space for the city’s most vulnerable people realises a long-held dream for Te Tāpui Atawhai.

Purpose-built to Te Tāpui Atawhai’s specifications, the nine-storey building has a health centre, a pharmacy, a community dining room, specialist detox services and 80 apartments.

“We can begin to do what we have longed to do, in the manner in which we have longed to do it, with the resources to support us” Robinson says.

“HomeGround makes so much more possible, we can do more and better”.

For many people moving into HomeGround, this will be their first permanent home for a long time, Robinson says.

Residents will pay rent for their accommodation to the City Mission which is a community housing provider.

Besides providing a safe, private, secure place to live and sleep, the apartments include a fridge, washing machine, dryer, shower and kitchen.

“When there is that deep sense of safety, we can rest as human beings and begin to be our best selves, we can begin to address the challenges in front of us and even begin to thrive”.

Residents will also have access to a communal lounge and a rooftop garden, which Robinson hopes will help build a real sense of community.

Robinson says that people who are going through medical or social detox at HomeGround can easily access its on-site health centre and pharmacy. These amenities, along with other support Te Tāpui Atawhai offers, ensure they benefit from a much more integrated service.

In addition to general residential accommodation, HomeGround has 25 beds available for addiction withdrawal services.

Demand for the Auckland City Mission’s services has ramped up dramatically since the pandemic began.

“The increase in the demand for food in the time I’ve been at the mission, which is just on nine years, is extraordinary” Robinson says.

“It’s deeply, deeply distressing the numbers of people [coming in] for food”.

She says there are “hundreds of thousands” of people without money “to buy enough good kai for their families.

“It is reprehensible and should never, ever be occurring – certainly not in Aotearoa”.

Robinson worries about Omicron’s impact on those in the most desperate need – on their jobs, access to good food and increasing numbers of sick people.

“People who are vulnerably housed, in boarding houses or motels are of particular concern, especially if they become ill” she says.

Being unwell for them is “incredibly difficult”.

Despite the negatives, Robinson remains optimistic – and the Auckland City Mission is better placed than ever to help the people coming through its doors, she says.


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News category: New Zealand.

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