Orange Sky service saves homeless people’s dignity

Orange Sky

Homeless people account for about 42,000 New Zealanders and Doug and Krystal say the Orange Sky service is “so helpful” to them.

They say great to know they can shower, wash their clothes and “have interesting chats”.

Put another way, that’s nearly the same as the population of Whanganui, a couple of thousand fewer than Upper Hutt and maybe a tad more or less than the populations of Gisborne and Lyttleton combined.

The organisation says in 2021 – 2022 it provided 3,001 loads of laundry, 1,945 hot showers and over 3,893 hours of conversation for those “doing it tough” and who need a listening ear.

Orange Sky say people who are or have experienced homelessness face a myriad of problems which those of us living indoors at home don’t need to consider.

Among the practical concerns for example, is how to keep clean when you don’t have a shower or a laundry.


Howie lived in a van for three years. He said during that time, Orange Sky’s service was a godsend.

“Each Saturday morning visiting the orange van was like my big day out! Washing my clothes, having a shower and a chat gave me dignity.

“People weren’t judging me for my situation or my skin colour; they just gave me moral support.”

After three years, Howie had a settled place to live but returned to visit his Orange Sky friends.

“It’s not just the showers, it’s the people,” he says.

Peter, who’s in a similar situation to the one Howie was in, said Orange Sky “takes a lot of pressure off”.

“It’s great to take some pride in my appearance and have a chat with some volunteers – it makes you feel human again.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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