National | Gisborne

Environmentally friendly solution for homeless

The Oasis Community Shelter in Tūranga Nui a Kiwa Gisborne is one step closer to new modular "living homes" that will house homeless peoples.

“The home is a living home, just like the whānau in it," Oasis Community Shelter manager Liz Crawford says. "You can do a lot with it. That includes growing veggies on it if you want to do that but you can have it basically however you want to dream about it and that's the thing we're trying to do is just give hope and then people can create their dream homes.”

Crawford has herself gone from being homeless, to providing shelter for other homeless.

She started the shelter before Covid-19, which houses up to 10 men at a time. The shelter has received generous support from members of the community through donations of money, food and material.

Modular homes

"I had an experience of homelessness and thought that what we had now didn't meet the need and wasn't appropriate in terms of maintenance and helping whānau to build."

The modular homes will be built on land next to and owned by the Oasis Community Shelter.

Crawford says they are permanent houses. "We are applying to become a transitional housing provider and, from that, we hope to have whānau employed building these particular types of modular homes as well, then developing into homeownership, rent-to-buy, things like that. “

With the environment in mind, the Green Magic Homes design is made of 80% recyclable materials.

“They're a polycarbonate, so very strong. They're modular and come in pieces that we put together," she says.

Rooftop garden

"The outside then is insulated and we put earth and vegetation on top. You can grow your vegetables, you can have plants with at least a root depth of 3cm is all that's required. Everything else is pretty standard - what you'd expect in building.”

With initial support from a donor, Crawford is actively seeking funding to move the project ahead.

“We've had a philanthropist come and kōrero with us, given some money for a kick-start and that's what the site plan was about. So we've met that, and we're going higher to ministry level just discussing at the present time. There have been no promises but at least we're in discussions.”

She plans to start building this year.