Pick your region
How a mobile laundry and hot shower van service is helping homeless Kiwis 'feel human'
In Aotearoa
In Aotearoa

How a mobile laundry and hot shower van service is helping homeless Kiwis 'feel human'

"Gave me dignity."

Today is World Homeless Day, with over 41,000 Kiwis doing it tough right here in NZ, it's an issue that requires a lot of hard work. 

One of the many incredible organisations trying to help out is Orange Sky - they have vans kitted out with washing machines, dryers and hot showers that go around the motu helping the people that need it most. 

This year alone, Orange Sky has provided over 3,300 loads of laundry, 1,100 hot showers, and more than 5,800 hours of conversation for our friends doing it tough in Aotearoa.

Howie used Orange Sky during the three years he lived in his van, and said the service was "like a godsend". 

“Each Saturday morning visiting the orange van was like my big day out! Washing my clothes, having a shower and a chat gave me dignity.”

“People weren’t judging me for my situation or my skin colour; they just gave me moral support. About three years, or 1,265 days after living in my van, I finally got a place. But I keep coming back to the orange van because I miss the people. It’s not just the showers, it’s the people.”

Peter, who’s in a similar situation to the one Howie was in, said Orange Sky "takes a lot of pressure off".  

“It’s great to take some pride in my appearance and have a chat with some volunteers - it makes you feel human again.”

Doug & Krystal, a couple who use Orange Sky, said the service has "been so helpful". 

"Knowing we can have a shower, have our clothes washed and have interesting chats helps a lot," they said. 

"All anyone needs a lot of the time are people, or cats, around them that love each other and give each other a sense of joy.”

There are other organisations that help those in need - BBM Foodbank, Auckland City Mission, Te Ngākau Kahukura, just to name a few - and they all do incredible work. 

If you can help out by volunteering or donating to any of them, please do - you'll find everything you need to know on their websites.