Rough sleepers in Auckland will now have access to free mobile laundry and showers through an Australian charity.
Orange Sky will be partly funded by the Government for the next few years – a move that’s been welcomed by Housing Minister Phil Twford.
“This is something very practical and very humane to make a difference in the lives of some very vulnerable people,” Mr Twyford told RadioLIVE.
The van, named “Hugo”, has two washing machines, two driers, and a shower.
Aussie co-founders Lucas Patchett and Nic Marchesi began the concept in Brisbane by installing a few washing machines and dryers in the back of their van. Orange Sky, officially launched in 2014, now has 27 services across Australia.
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The charity founders were approached to start their services in New Zealand by the Hugo Charitable Trust and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development - hence the name of the van.
“It’s really about an act of kindness. People who are sleeping rough face relentless daily challenges,” said Mr Twyford.
While the idea began as simply a charitable notion to improve hygiene standards and restore dignity to people who were doing it tough, it's evolved into something much bigger and more powerful.
“It’s really the first step for them to get the assistance they need.”
The charity launched on Thursday morning in Onehunga, which co-founder Mr Patchett said was a success.
Listen to the full interview with Phil Twyford above.
The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.