Dunedin Night Shelter trustees will sleep
on the street this weekend to raise awareness of the
''elephant in the room''.
Dunedin Night Shelter Trust board chairman Dave Brown and
board member John Le Brun will be ''roughing it'' on Sunday
night to start the trust's fundraising efforts and bring
attention to the plight of homeless people in Dunedin.
Mr Brown said the trust hoped to raise about $650,000 to buy
two Lees St buildings which the trust rented at present.
''They are in the ideal location with the ideal set-up and we
want to buy them,'' he said.
Mr Le Brun said if the trust bought the buildings, its
services would be ''secured for generations to come''.
The pair, who will be joined by Labour MP David Clark, would
spend the night in cardboard boxes in the Octagon from 5pm.
As well as rasing the profile of the trust's fundraising
efforts, it would also raise awareness of homelessness, which
had become Dunedin's ''elephant in the room'', Mr Le Brun
''We are keen to ... get the message out there that it is a
problem. You don't always see it, but it is there,'' he said.
The problem was increasing, with 695 bed nights recorded at
the shelter from December 2012 to November 2013, up 46% on
the same period the year before.
The fundraising campaign was named Eat the Elephant! and
donors could support the trust's fundraising efforts by
buying a small piece of the properties, whether it was a
toilet, a kitchen sink or a square metre of land, Mr Brown
About $22,000 had been raised so far, with almost $200,000
pledged if the trust could raise more than $300,000, Mr Le
The pair were excited about the opportunity to raise
awareness of the trust and the homeless in Dunedin, but they
were nervous about Sunday's weather, with a temperature of
10degC and showers predicted overnight.