Every Monday morning, homeless and rough sleepers from around Napier gather at Housing First’s Outreach Centre. Centre Team Leader Whiu explains many have spent the weekend sleeping somewhere they feel safe – but at the Centre they find familiar faces, support to address their needs, and a meal and boxes of fresh baking from Good Bitches Baking.
'It’s a big turnout, 30 to 40 people', Whiu says. 'I guess it’s because of the baking and to catch up. They’re blown away, they see the boxes and they say "oh wow the baking is here". They love it, you want to see their eyes.'
Whiu says that the people the Centre works with are living on the breadline, and many are struggling with issues around addiction or mental health. For many, it feels that everyone has 'given up on them' – they’re no longer connected to their families, they’ve exhausted different support services, and been kicked out of accommodation.
'The baking tells them that there are people who still care for them. On behalf of them, I’m really grateful for what the bakers do. It’s an awesome thing to see, they’ve enriched some of these guys, put a smile on their face and given them a bit of hope.'
The Centre gets 6 to 8 boxes of baking every Monday. Whiu says, 'it would cost so much to purchase baking for 30 to 40 people and it’s such lovely baking. It’s different each week and beautifully made and iced.'
The Centre supports people’s immediate needs, and longer term they work to get people 'housing first' then help to address other issues such as addiction.