Night Shelter Dunedin co-manager Ian McAuliffe tidies up
after another busy night this week. Photo by Dan
More than 50 women have stayed at Night Shelter Dunedin
since it stopped its men-only policy nine months ago, including
someone in the last month of pregnancy.
Ian McAuliffe, one of two managers at the shelter, said they
had helped several pregnant, homeless women, women on their
own and others who had children with them.
The Night Shelter changed from a men-only facility on August
1 last year and had taken in more than 50 ''different women
for different reasons'' since then, Mr McAuliffe said. It
worked closely with
Women's Refuge which was normally able to take women and
The shelter had been ''extremely busy'' over the last two
weeks with more than 60 guests in that time.
One visitor was a man who was flooded out of his regular home
- a cave near Outram - during heavy rain over Easter.
Mr McAuliffe estimated that 80%-85% of people coming to the
door were under the influence of legal or illegal drugs, or
''I am pleased to see the legal highs stopping this week
because we have had a lot of problems with that.
''I will be pleased to see the end of that because a lot of
our frequent flyers - they get their benefit on a Wednesday
or a Thursday and they are broke by Friday, all spent on
these legal highs.''
There were also more young people coming to the shelter
suffering from the ''age-old problem'' of not having suitable
ID, such as a birth certificate, to get a Work and Income
''I had another young lad who came in on the weekend. He
turned 18 two weeks ago... his father had kicked him out of
home and, of course, [he had] no idea of how to get on a
benefit or anything like that.''
Such cases took longer to sort out, required a lot of work
and the shelter often had to break its own three-day maximum
Mr McAuliffe said the shelter worked with a lot of other
agencies to sort out problems for people but some were quite
happy with their lifestyle, only stayed for a night every
month or so and did not want to be referred to another
One of their regular guests had been coming in over the
course of 30 years.