Bond Tackles Invercargill Homelessness

24 January 2017

New Zealand First MP Ria Bond is rolling up her sleeves to renovate a room at the Salvation Army’s Invercargill Emergency Accommodation – a building she has a strong personal connection to.

Bond said she heard the Leven St emergency accommodation was re-opening but the Salvation Army did not have the funds to renovate the rooms. As a 13-year-old she stayed in the hostel with her family when they relocated from Christchurch.

“This organisation helped my family out when we really needed it. It’s really important to me that I give back.”

Bond said she spoke to Salvation Army leaders in Invercargill last week and offered to renovate one of the rooms herself.

 On Thursday, she picked up a sledgehammer and began the job, knocking out walls.

“If I put my name behind something I get in overalls and all. I don’t stand back in my high-heels.”

 She estimates the renovation will take about 40 hours to complete over the next three weeks.

The Salvation Army is providing a crucial service for people with nowhere else to go, she said.

“Some people think there’s no homelessness down here, but we need to take our blinkers off" 

“Homelessness is a nationwide problem affecting not just individuals but families as well.

Bond said she was aware of families living in garages in Invercargill.

Combined Rotary clubs in Invercargill and the Breathing Space Trust are working on a longer-term plan around tackling homelessness in Invercargill, but there is a desperate need for short-term accommodation.

“This is an urgent and immediate issue which needs to be addressed. There is potential for other people and organisations to adopt a room at the hostel as well,” says Ms Bond.