They call themselves the Community Angels - a group of local women with big hearts and a knack for getting things done.
I have known Angela Wallace, Tania Lewis–Rickard and Colleen Spiro for a long time. These women are absolutely committed to those in our community who are hungry and homeless, providing meals, a safe place to seek some peace from life on the streets and now a women’s shelter.
The reality is that life is very tough for women on the streets. They are extremely vulnerable and live in constant fear of being attacked. We have talked about the need for a women’s shelter in Tauranga for some time and, in a few short months, Angela, Tania and their team have done what we thought might be impossible with the opening of Awhina House. What a remarkable achievement.
The Women’s Shelter will be a very welcome addition to the Tauranga Moana Men’s Shelter which has been very successful in helping many men turn their lives around.
I visited the men’s shelter again this year just before Christmas and took along desserts for their Christmas dinner which were gratefully accepted.
It’s always great to sit down with Annamarie and her team to hear about their successes - men finding permanent homes, jobs and regaining their health.
We are very thankful to have these caring and compassionate people in our community and, in 2019, the government continues with its commitment to increase New Zealand’s social housing stock.