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Night refuge finds a home

Masterton’s planned night refuge for those suffering extreme homelessness has found a home on Bannister St.

At an opening ceremony on Tuesday night, it was clear that the old building would need renovations to prepare for its opening, scheduled for early next year.

It has been named Kim’s Way in honour of Kim McKinley, an advocate for Masterton’s homeless who died a year ago.

Organiser Lyn Tankersley said she had spoken to several homeless people in Masterton who were “absolutely excited” by the prospect.

She said the hall needs a new floor, doors and a ramp, and the kitchen and bathroom need refitting.

It also needs appliances like a washing machine and a fridge.

A four-person committee is championing the night refuge project, including Tankersley, Blair Smith, Councillor Stella Lennox, and former Masterton mayor Bob Frances.

They have called for any tradies willing to volunteer their time to help transform the hall into a much-needed social asset.

“My heart is filled with love and thanks to the people of Masterton for helping get this project off the ground.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but we’ve lots of support from council and churches,” Tankersley said.

She estimated Masterton’s extreme homeless population at about 15 people.

The night refuge, manned by two volunteers, will open at six or seven at night and then close again in the morning.

Wairarapa Community Kitchen will provide dinner and breakfast.

There will be five cabins in the backyard and mattresses inside the hall.

There will also be dining, bathroom and laundry facilities, and shelves for people to store things during the daytime.

“This will be a non-judgemental space; you’re welcome to bring a dog or a bottle of wine.

“The aim is to create a place where no questions are asked, and there are no barriers to care,” Tankersley said.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty commended the organising committee for their project while noting that social housing was his number one priority in the region.

“Masterton is full of generous people who are ready to step in when there’s a need in the community, and the opening of Kim’s Way night refuge is an example of just that.

“The support from the community to bring back Kainga Ora and back community-led initiatives like Kim’s Way to address the housing need in the region is a testament to the people of Wairarapa,” McAnulty said.

    Any donations or volunteers for the renovation process can email Lyn Tankersley at [email protected]

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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