Latest News

Record numbers at Hutt St Centre as winter bites

31 May 2024

With winter only just beginning, Hutt St Centre has been supporting a record number of people walking through its doors this year, with almost 25 per cent more unique visitors year-on-year coming into the Wellbeing Centre in April, and more than a third of new clients experiencing homelessness for the first time.

Hutt St Centre Chief Executive Chris Burns said despite living through a mild spring with very little rain, more people were seeking support including access to meals, showers, laundry services, and nurse and doctor visits than ever before.

“We are facing serious cost-of-living and housing crises and it is being reflected in the record number of people seeking support from Hutt St Centre,” Mr Burns said.

“We are also seeing a different demographic in our visitors due to those crises, including younger people who never thought they would experience homelessness and people who have had to rapidly vacate their rental accommodation and suddenly now living out of their cars or couch surfing.

“More people are sleeping rough or have insecure housing situations more people are foregoing meals to offset skyrocketing rents and bills, and more people are reaching out to services like our Wellbeing Centre where they can access support services, have a hot meal and a shower, and feel safe.”

Mr Burns said Hutt St Centre had been working hard to meet increasing demand with a new record number of meals served in April – 4,388– and was looking at alternative ways to cater for the increased demand.

“We will never turn anyone away at Hutt St Centre, and we’re looking at ways to ensure everyone can have something to eat while accessing essential services as we help them on their pathway to finding homefulness.”

In April, Hutt St Centre served 1,743 breakfasts compared to 1,433 in 2023 – a 22 per cent increase over the year. Over the same period, lunch servings increased from 1,905 to 2,645, increasing by 39 per cent.

Compared to the year before, shower use increased by 16 per cent, laundry use increased by 26 per cent and medical visits to see an on-site doctor or nurse by 22 per cent.

Total Wellbeing Centre visits grew from 3,000 in April 2023 to 3,925 in April this year, increasing by 31 per cent, with 112 of those being new clients, and 36.6 per cent of those were new clients experiencing homelessness for the first time.

Of the people visiting Hutt St Centre, 62.5 per cent were sleeping rough, compared to 58.3 per cent the previous year. Women made up 24.8 per cent of visitors.

“These statistics are not just numbers on a page, they’re people walking through our doors who are experiencing genuine hardship and are in desperate need of support, and we’re only just coming into winter,” Mr Burns said.

“We’re expecting numbers to increase as the rain sets in and we have consistently cooler days. Our challenge is to ensure we can help each person in some way, and we thank our staff and volunteers for providing as much help as they can, and to those who have donated to Hutt St Centre and our Winter Appeal so far.”

Hutt St Centre’s Winter Appeal is currently underway, to raise funds to support the increasing number of people in need.

To donate, click here

Sign up to Hughes News