One person in every one-hundred in Aotearoa is homeless, and about eight hundred of them are sleeping rough on the streets of Auckland every night. The homeless population is one of the most marginalised, discriminated against communities in the world today – many endure abuse and attacks on the streets, and still others are disregarded as the refuse of our society. But these are real people, our whānau, who are trying to survive in a world that has made it very difficult for them.
The Lifewise Big Sleepout is a fundraising event that’s designed to contribute to Lifewise’ wider preventative work of disrupting the social cycles and stigmas that lead to homelessness.
This year one of our own – Loren Honey -is joining the cause, and raising money to bring an end to homelessness.
“People need to understand that homelessness is a symptom of a number of social issues that we deal with day to day.”Lifewise Big Sleepout 2019
The Lifewise Big Sleepout was created to give Kiwis the experience of sleeping rough – stripping them of their creature comforts on one of the longest, coldest nights of the year, and asking them to spend it sleeping where the bite of the elements is strongest. Taking place in Eden Park every year, the Sleepout is meant to help people understand what a large proportion of the homeless population endures every single night.
Finding a place to sleep, staying as healthy as possible without access to consistent healthcare while in the cold of the New Zealand winter, and simply being safe – these are just some of the challenges that our homeless whānau have to go through.
Lifewise has repeatedly taken a stand against these harsh conditions, with the main goal of ending homelessness in New Zealand. This year, Loren is sleeping rough to help Lifewise reach this goal on a cold June night in Eden Park.
“I’m doing it because I’ve always felt bad that we have so many homeless people in NZ, a developed country, and it seems the problem is only getting worse in recent years. I’m privileged enough to have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, warm clothes, and I don’t have to worry about being attacked trying to sleep on a street corner every night.
I’m originally from Great Barrier and there was one summer I went back and lived there when I was 16. The house I lived in was falling apart, literally had one full wall missing, no electricity bathroom or kitchen, just a long drop and a terrible outdoor bath, so you could say I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to not have some of the basic facilities we all take for granted. Not like that’s being homeless, but I guess it’s made me more empathetic.
I’m a bit of humanitarian I guess, I want to leave the world a bit of a better place when I leave so doing things like this could help. I’m also a life coach as well, and I donate some of the money I get from my business to women’s refuge.” – Loren Honey
There are several ways that you can support Loren and Lifewise in their journey to ending homelessness in Aoteroa.
Come the night of June 20th, we hope to see a lot of positive change being made, and the beauty of a community coming together to support each other, no matter their individual circumstances. We hope to see you there!