Teamwork helps Nelson's homeless

MATT LAWREY
Last updated 14:44 08/11/2012
lionesses
MATT LAWREY/FAIRFAX NZ

JOB DONE: From left, Nelson Tasman Housing Trust co-ordinator Patrick Steer, student Cory Higgs, Builders Association manager Karen Lane, student James Palmer and college tutor Simon Croft with the just-completed cabin.

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Nelson Tasman Housing Trust, the Nelson Registered Master Builders Association and Nelson College have teamed up to provide a new cabin for short-term emergency accommodation for people who are homeless in Nelson.

Co-ordinated by Nelson Registered Master Builders president Alistair Middleton, the collaboration used the skills of Nelson College students on the building trade programme to They ntebuild most of the new cabin.
Tutor Simon Croft said it was nice to be given the opportunity to help.

‘‘The boys have gained a lot of practical knowledge in completing this project. They’ve also gained a level of social awareness about people who are down on their luck,’’ he said.

The materials and other expertise for the building were provided by members of the NRMBA, subcontractors and suppliers.

NRMBA manager Karen Lane said the association celebrated its 75th anniversary this year and it was a fitting way to give something back.

‘‘Although the cabin is a small project, it has the potential to be used by a great number of people in need and we thank the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust for instigating the build.

‘‘The project could not have been completed without the Nelson College Trades Department involvement in the build as well as the donations of materials and labour,’’ she said.

The new 24sqm cabin is worth more than $30,000 and replaces a small caravan owned by St Vincent de Paul.
It sleeps three, includes a small bathroom and, along with Nelson Tasman Housing Trust’s other emergency housing cabin, is based at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park.

Trust co-ordinator Patrick Steer said the cabins were used by 11 social services to provide people with up to two weeks of emergency accommodation.

‘‘The aim is to stabilise their situation, whatever it is, and then find and support them into something else,’’ he said.

For the most recent financial year the emergency accommodation was used for a total of 255 nights. Forty-eight adults and 24 children stayed in the accommodation. The average length of stay was eight nights.

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