SOUTHLANDERS are being challenged to give up the comfort of their own beds for a night in a bid to raise awareness about homelessness in New Zealand.
The Salvation Army is running its fourth annual 14 Hours Homeless sleep-out event in Invercargill, Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington on Friday night (October 13).
Participants in the event seek sponsorship and spend 14 hours sleeping outside on cardboard or couches or in cars to raise funds for projects to support the homeless in New Zealand.
Salvation Army Invercargill corps officer Captain Annette Bray said 14 Hours Homeless was a chance for people to learn about the realities of homelessness in Invercargill and to make a real difference in people’s lives.
“People often say to us, ‘surely there’s no homelessness in Invercargill’, but there really is.”
In the past year, the Invercargill Salvation Army had seen 111 people needing help with housing, a level of homelessness that often shocked people, she said.
Proceeds raised from the Invercargill sleep-out event would go towards running the Emergency Accommodation Service in Invercargill and the Army’s work with homeless people in the city, she said.
To support the event, sponsors could give money directly to the participants or donate via the website.
“The more [money] we have, the more we can help people.”
Faith Henderson (13) is among 15 people who had so far registered to take part in this year’s Invercargill event.
Captain Bray said, as of Monday, Faith had raised $1130.38 towards the cause, the most raised by an individual participant so far this year.
The sleep-out would be held in the car park behind the Emergency Accommodation facility on Leven St.
Captain Bray said participants needed to bring their sleeping bag, warm clothes, a water bottle, and a good attitude. Dinner and breakfast would be provided.
The event was for participants aged 18 years or over, but younger people could take part if they were accompanied by their parents or caregivers, she said.
Salvation Army’s 14 Hour Homeless event, Friday, October 13, 6pm to Saturday, October 14, 8am. To register or sponsor the participants, go to 14hourshomeless.org.nz