When we first met Selwyn on shift in Auckland, he was sleeping rough – as thousands of Kiwis do each night. But it wasn’t just free laundry and shower services that he found at shift, he also found a place to connect…

“My name’s Selwyn Vercoe. I descend from the Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou tribes of Aotearoa. 

The Orange Sky service is important because it serves a lot of people who need these services – like having a shower and getting your laundry done. 

I’ve been here where people have lined up to have a shower and get their laundry done [and] waited till about seven o’clock… that’s when I realised how important [the Orange Sky service] is for our street people. 

It’s humbling to witness how [the volunteers] express their hospitality to the community. They never judge. [Friends] can come here and enjoy the hospitality without fear or judgement. A lot of our street people have been products of the environment, so it’s good to have this type of service in the community where our street people don’t fear judgement.”

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Selwyn was one of the 41,600 New Zealanders experiencing homelessness. Orange Sky was able to support Selwyn during this time in his life by providing access to free laundry and shower services, as well as a place for kōrero on our six orange chairs. 

Although Selwyn now has a place to call home, he is still a familiar face at our Monday night shift. It’s no longer about doing a load of laundry or jumping in for a warm shower, but he’s still there to access a service that’s essential to all of us – connection. 

As part of our mission to triple our impact for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage across the Australasian region by 2025, we plan to expand our services in Aotearoa.

But we need your help to support more Kiwis doing it tough.

Everyone needs connection.

Please, donate today.

Help us grow our services and support more friends like Selywn

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