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Winter to arrive before refuge opens

Masterton’s long-awaited night refuge for the area’s homeless is unlikely to be up and running in time for the start of winter, despite the hard work of many community members.

The building, named Kim’s Way, is still undergoing the consenting consultation with Masterton District Council [MDC].

It also still requires additional structural renovations like plumbing and interior refurbishment.

Organiser Lyn Tankersley said its opening is still a while away, and that the delay reflects the amount of work a project of this scale needs.

“We’ll get some good building days and working bees, but I would say it won’t happen in the next month, unfortunately,” she said.

“The council needs to make sure it’s all safe and kosher – all that takes time.”

MDC confirmed that both the resource and building consents are underway after the first building application wasn’t accepted due to a lack of information.

However, the standard 20-working-day clock on the resource consent is currently paused, due to requests for more details.

Tankersley said she estimates about 15 – 20 homeless individuals in Masterton will benefit once the refuge is up and running.

“There’s many who are sleeping in cars, I know of one car that has three sleeping in it.”

Once open, Tankersley said the refuge will be run as a wet house, and that the choice to allow alcohol means those struggling with addiction won’t be excluded from getting support.

“First step is getting a full night’s sleep without having to keep your ears open, and conscious of people and things around you,” she said.

“Second is to have a good meal in your stomach seven nights a week.”

While getting the facility up and running is a long ongoing process, Tankersley said she imagines that once consenting approvals are signed off, things will move quickly.

Tankersley added that she has been blown away by the community input so far and that many locals are volunteering time or material resources to help.

“I think people are passionate about wanting to help give these people an alternative to living in the drain, or under a bridge.”

Local planner Elizabeth Burge – who is currently working with MDC on the consenting process – said she is volunteering her time to support a worthy cause.

“These things can cost so much money,” Burge said.

“If I can donate my services for something that’s going to benefit people that are less advantaged, I’m more than willing to do that.”

Voluntary initiatives like this often require extra support from the community, Burge said.

“It’s really important that people come on board and help, rather than hinder.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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