Regional | Community

Rotorua’s needy find aid in new drop-in centre

A new drop-in centre has opened in the heart of Rotorua city to provide free meals, clothing, household and social services to the community's most needy. The centre opened on Monday and the response has been overwhelming.

Co-project leader, Wetini Mitai-Ngātai says it's only been four days of intense but rewarding work.

“There are a lot of people who need this help, such as food. If you don't have anything to eat, then this is the place to come to."

Rotorua has the second-highest rate of homelessness in the country. The service, led by good samaritan trio, Tiny Deane, Lara Northcroft and Wetini Mitai-Ngātai is to address the plight.

“People will just um, roaming the streets being lost,” said former homeless person Rocky Hudson, “Now they got somewhere to come to now and it's great for them to come up here and relax.”

General Manager Tiny Dean said, “We sort of wanted something for the day and we wanted something to give them services, like health services. We want to look at putting them in houses.”

The volunteer project has been three months in the making. However, organisers say the hand up is dependent on the generosity of others.

“The giving has been tremendous with many donating food or money,” said Mitai-Ngātai. “Some community services have come and we are continuing to seek help from businesses.”

Services such as counselling, budgeting and WINZ staff are also available.

However, the giving doesn't end here. Tiny will operate a shelter to house the community's homeless families at the end of this month.