Getting ready to sleep rough on Waiheke Island
A 'prawn' and a 'Viking' will be among a group of residents sleeping rough to raise cash for affordable accommodation on Auckland's 'jewel in the crown'.
Waiheke Island has become a mecca for tourists after being labelled as a hot spot by Lonely Planet and Conde Nast Traveller magazine.
Its many beaches, vineyards, olive groves and cafes are a big draw, with holiday accommodation at a premium and high house prices.
Properties sell from around $700,000 upwards, with those costing more than $1m the norm.
* Waiheke Community Housing Trust can buy its first properties
* Waiheke Island trust hopes to offer affordable housing
* Event raises money for affordable housing
* Island housing trust idea floated
* Fewer than 100 'affordable' houses built under Auckland Housing Accord
The result is a shortage of affordable properties and rentals for the island's residents.
So the community decided to take action in August 2017, forming the Waiheke Community Housing Trust.
Its aim is to buy a portfolio of properties to provide affordable rental housing for people with young children or those aged over 55.
The trust has already raised $300,000, which will pay for a $280,000 deposit on two adjoining properties.
But it needs just over $1m more to meet the costs of construction and renovation so the buildings can house 13 people.
A series of fundraisers is planned, including a Houseathon on October 14, when sponsored residents will be sleeping rough for the night.
Participants will be dossing down in the courtyard of the island's Artworks complex, in Oneroa, from 6pm till 8am the next morning.
And that includes lawyer Chloe Barker, dressed as a prawn, and resident Nora West, who will be wearing her Viking hat - fresh from the island's Red Cross op shop.
Barker said she threw out a challenge at an out-of-work meeting to wear the prawn costume for the sleep out if she got $200 in sponsorship.
A woman she had never met before offered the whole sum.
"I should have put it higher," Barker said.
"I'm hoping the costume will keep me warm during the night."
Since then, she has amassed another $800 in pledges and said she had been "blown away" by people's generosity.
Nora West, who will be in charge of first aid, said there would be live music and bedtime stories during the evening.
"But no alcohol will be allowed and children will be the responsibility of their parents," she said.
See https://www.wcht.org.nz/ to find out more and, to make a donation, the trust's BNZ bank account number is 02-0108-0367509-000.