The streets of Wellington on a day like today are a joy, the sun is shining, the breeze is more balmy than bluster and you probably have a home to go to if you need some cave time.  In Wellington the streets are shared with all, and if you head into the CBD you will see suits, students, hipsters, children and gold-card holders utilising public space alongside street people and alcoholics.  Auckland is responding to the challenges of in-your-face social problems by considering a bylaw to force homeless people off the streets by making the police responsible for moving the problem around. Good luck with that one. 

Wellingtonians can’t afford to be smug about the issue but at least the focus is on a range of solutions including a wet hostel and liquor bans.  There was plenty of thoughtful discussion over at Poneke about this issue last year.

Practical support and assistance for homeless/street people has traditionally been provided by government agencies, churches and volunteer groups.  People are out there getting on with doing good work in the community every day.  This is where you come in, do you have three hours a fortnight to spare?  Catacombs is a drop-in centre on Manners Street, upstairs next to Cosmic Corner.  Catacombs started out as a youth club under St Peter’s Church on Willis Street in the 60s or 70s and moved above ground to a premises that ultimately ended up as bypass.  In its current incarnation Catacombs has no religious affiliation and the place is run by a committee of twelve volunteers who provide super cheap hot drinks in a sitting room type atmosphere.  People come in, get some tea and shelter, watch TV, read the paper etc.

Volunteers are needed to staff the centre three hours a fortnight. Slots include:

  • 7.30pm -10.30pm on weeknights
  • 11.30am – 2.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays
  • 2.30pm – 5.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Call Barbara on 803 8527 or email if you want to be involved.