One of the things that struck me about the CERA response to the criticism of their Live Central campaign was how straight up wrong they were. Warwick Isaacs wrote a letter to the Press, which echoed the sentiments of Cr Jamie Gough, who said that there were no brown people in the campaign because no brown people lived in the central city (I’m paraphrasing, but only slightly). The thing is, that isn’t true. There are lots of brown people who live in the central city – they just don’t live in houses.*
Every Friday dozens of people head down to Latimer Square to get a hot meal from volunteers. These are many of the vulnerably housed people who call the streets of the CBD home. Many of them will stay in some of the shelters and church-led accommodation to the east of Madras St. Pre-quake, there were lots of properties that catered for these people. I remember that the front porch of the Grumpy Mole was often a prime spot for rough sleepers. Post-quake, it’s not so easy.
Following the cold snap of the last few days, the City Mission has put a call out for blankets because their night shelters are full to capacity. If you can help them out with a spare blanket or some cash, please do. And if you’re in a position of power, please stop pretending these people don’t exist in our city. They do. Any discussion about the residential future of the central city which fails to acknowledge the existence of people in poverty or people without a regular abode will only serve to reinforce these problems.
* I’m not for a minute saying that only brown people are vulnerably housed. There are all sorts of races down at the food van when I go by it on Friday evening, but I don’t stop to take pictures or count ethnicities.
Pps you can visit the Help The Homeless Chch page here