Helping women in crisis

The Mahurangi Presbyterian Church is trying to source suitable accommodation for women who might need it during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Mahurangi churches are on the lookout for spare housing units to assist women and children in crisis during the current Covid-19 lockdown.

The Mahu Vision Community Trust – a ministry of the Mahurangi Presbyterian Church – says it anticipates having emergency situations arise where women and children need to have safe options available away from their homes.

Trust manager Roger Mackay says the trust has been considering the need for providing some kind of temporary emergency accommodation for some time, but the Covid-19 emergency has prompted it to bring its planning forward.

Mr Mackay says the need was brought home to the trust after it was asked to aid a Pasifika family in recent days. Although the family lives in south Auckland, the trust was called on because its community workers could speak the same language.

Mr Mackay says with families being locked down together there will be tendency for tensions to erupt more readily.

“If somebody needs to be moved out of their home quickly, it’s better to be prepared rather than suddenly having to scramble to find accommodation,” he says.

Snells Beach Baptist Church is among those supporting the initiative.

Pastor Nathan Friedt says although the church has yet to encounter a family needing emergency accommodation, it’s easy to see that problems are likely to emerge in the weeks ahead.

“Speaking of my own family, we’re a pretty stable family but we’ve been getting on each other’s nerves during lockdown. We’re trying to find creative ways to give each other space and go for lots of walks and things,” he says.

“Some families will take it harder than others.”

Meanwhile, Hestia Rodney Women’s Refuge says there has been a big increase in referrals since the Covid-19 lockdown commenced though it was difficult to quantify numbers at this stage.

But a spokesperson said the refuge was well prepared for the emergency having previously planned its response in the event of a disease outbreak such as Covid-19.

The refuge could assist women 24/7 and had motel units available to accommodate them. The Women’s Refuge crisis line is 0800 321 361.

Individuals who have housing units that could temporarily accommodate women and children in crisis should email Roger Mackay: admin@mahu.org.nz


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