Does Tauranga need another homeless shelter?

Milo Night Organisors Tracey Carlton and Pip with Rotorua man Tiny Deane.

Tiny Deane has already opened up three homeless shelters in Rotorua and Taupo, and now he’s considering a night shelter in Tauranga.

“Tauranga locals and even my trucking friends say that I should start something here because homeless people are everywhere. They’re even in Mount Maunganui, Papamoa, Greerton and of course the CBD.

“It’s really about community, council and stakeholders in the city coming up with a solution that benefits Tauranga for the next five years, and working together collaboratively, the homeless problem could be solved quite easily.”

Tiny, who founded Visions of a Helping hand charity with his wife Lynley Deane, is looking for commitment from people within the Tauranga community to help him run a shelter.

He says it would be a struggle to run an additional shelter on his own and needs to ensure there is correct support in place to execute it properly.

“There’s a number of people that have stepped forward to help. It would be near impossible for me to run this shelter, but setting it up is something that I could do with passionate people beside me.”

Tiny says that the shelter would need to facilitate a large number of both men and women.

“It’s coming up with a property that can sleep 50-plus people that ticks the right boxes for council consents and the public.

“It’s never going to be an easy fix, but can we make it as smooth as we want it to be.

“Ignoring the problem and putting a ban in place is not going to solve the problem. They have human rights and need our help.”

Tiny is currently busy helping out Housing First in Rotorua, but Tauranga hasn’t slipped his mind.

“I never forget Tauranga. Tracey and those guys from Milo Nights are doing a great job.”

Tauranga Labour MP Jan Tinetti says before bringing in an additional shelter, it is important for the city to take stock of where they are at within the homeless space.

“I think Tiny does amazing work, but we have a lot of people out there doing incredible work.

“It’s really important that we come together as a city, before we look at bringing something else in and adding another layer and look at what the actual issue is as of today.

“We know there is an issue, but we need to know the extent of it, what’s working and what’s not working, what are the different groups involved in this space, and is this the right next step.”