Creative partnership turns houses into homes | The Salvation Army

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Creative partnership turns houses into homes

Posted January 23, 2020

The Salvation Army’s recently opened social housing complex in Auckland, Te Hononga Tāngata, has become the first real home of their own for many of its 59 tenants, thanks in part to furniture donated from a Queenstown resort.

When Crown Workspace won the contract to remove furniture from Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort in Queenstown, Crown Country Manager James Logan came up with a creative solution for the high-end goods: donate it and transport it to those who need it most in New Zealand.

Oaks management and the Body Corporate, along with individual owners came on board with the idea with the result that seven containers of high-quality furniture—including lounge suites, dining tables, beds and dishwashers—were sent to Salvation Army centres around the country. It was distributed by the Crown Relocations team to Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland—areas identified as having the greatest need—at no cost to the Army.

‘It was a huge logistical task for Crown and Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort, and we are so grateful for their amazing support which is already benefitting a huge community of families, many of whom are desperately in need,’ says Salvation Army PR Director Tim Hamilton. ‘If it wasn’t for the generosity of the Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort, this incredible gift could never have happened,’ he says.

Among people receiving the high-quality furniture are the 59 residents at The Salvation Army’s Royal Oak social housing complex. ‘Around 90 percent of our tenants have absolutely nothing at all with regards to household items’, says Tenancy Manager Jasmine Herewini. ‘Being able to provide furniture takes the pressure and burden off them, so these donations are highly appreciated.’

The new tenants have all been on the social housing register and most have experienced homelessness.

The new complex has been specially built to foster community. There is a social worker on site, and tenants will continue to receive wrap-around support from The Salvation Army, with the stability of having a long-term, affordable rental.

‘A lot of these people have come from really rough backgrounds, have experienced a lot of trauma, and have only known failure. For some of these people this will be their forever home, and having a place that is comfortable is really important for helping them make the next steps in their lives,’ adds Jasmine.

Much of the furniture from Oaks has already been distributed and is being used by families around the country. In Dunedin, a mum and her children lost their home when it burned down, leaving them with nothing. It was the fire service that called Salvation Army Community Ministries, asking for help with a food parcel. The Army was able to go a step further and provide new furniture for the family. ‘They were very, very thankful. We’ve established an ongoing relationship with them and are still supporting them,’ says The Salvation Army Dunedin Community Ministries Manager David McKenzie.

Epsom Lodge provides supported accommodation for 84 residents, and the furniture ‘has been a God-send’, agrees manager, Auxiliary Captain Julie Turner.  ‘When clients find more permanent accommodation, furniture is a huge need. With the recent donation of furniture we are able to help people in a very practical way that not only helps financially, but contributes to mental and emotional well-being. It gives people a much better chance of a successful transition to the community.’

The furniture has also been used to replace old, mismatched furniture in Salvation Army hostels. At Addington in Christchurch, which provides 76 beds for men mostly referred through Corrections, the furniture was put to immediate use in sprucing up the place. ‘People have a perception of what a hostel is like, so it was a massive improvement and that’s been very positive. It’s that first impression when people come in, and when they see it’s clean and tidy, they’re more likely to say, ‘Hey, it’s worth giving it a go”, says Manager Glenn Dodson.

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