Auckland has a serious youth homelessness problem with young people (up to 24 years of age) making up 46% of the homeless population in Auckland. The safety nets are increasingly fragile for Auckland’s youth. Particularly vulnerable are young people who have been in the care system, as current policy requires them to fend for themselves, typically without strong family support, at 17 years of age. Without strong family connectedness and adequate income young people are at high risk of homelessness – moving from mate to mate for support, and when that fails they are forced to sleep rough on the streets.
On 3 July 2014, AUT University will be hosting the Lifewise Big Sleepout, which aims to raise critical awareness and funds for Lifewise’s highly successful ‘no band aids’ approach to homelessness. With little more than a sleeping bag and a sheet of cardboard for bedding, senior AUT staff and around 100 other influential New Zealanders will be homeless for the night as they sleep outside at AUT’s City Campus.
Each year Lifewise needs to raise over $500,000 just to maintain their current services for the homeless – let alone extend them. Every dollar raised from the Big Sleepout goes directly towards front line essential services to solve homelessness. Since the first Big Sleepout in 2010, Lifewise have housed more than 350 people mostly directly from the streets into a range of accommodation, and coordinated support services to help them retain accommodation.
Homelessness can happen to anyone – we are all only three major life events away from homelessness. Lifewise has found that for young people the main issues are housing, income and connectedness.
Following on from the success of the 2013 Lifewise Big Sleepout, we are proud to announce that seven members of AUT staff are participating in this year’s Big Sleepout. The AUT staff who will be ‘sleeping rough’ are Derek McCormack Vice Chancellor of AUT, Sarah Trotman Director of Business Relations and Executive Education – Faculty of Business and Law, Nigel Murphy Director of Corporate Relations, Agnes Naera Director of Equity – Faculty of Business and Law, Jenni Mace Senior Lecturer of Occupational Therapy, Dr Ellen Nicholson Lecturer of Occupational Therapy and Michael Richardson Industry Relationship Manager.
AUT has a long standing and diverse relationship with Lifewise which began many years ago when they worked together to develop a response to homelessness, which was sparked by the issue of homeless people sleeping at AUT City Campus. AUT and Lifewise have since worked together on many projects, including the development of workshops, student projects and placements, and hosting the Big Sleepout.
Please support Lifewise to achieve their mission of solving homelessness by sponsoring the AUT staff team who are participating in the Big Sleepout.
More information about Lifewise Big Sleepout can be found on their website: http://bigsleepout.org.nz/
Last updated: 27-Jun-2014 1.45pm
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