New Zealand’s first homeless store to hit Auckland’s streets

New Zealand is set to become the 82nd country to have a homeless store, with an ordinary kiwi bloke at the helm of organising a pop-up on Quay Street in Auckland Central.

Julian Beacham partnered with pop-up shop experts Pop Up Now and not-for-profit social agency Lifewise to create The Street Store, a rent- and premises-free clothing shop for Auckland’s homeless that will open on 7 December 2014 opposite Les Mills Britomart.

“We live and breathe pop-up stores, so when the opportunity arose to give back to Auckland’s community by extending a helping hand through our expertise, it was an absolute no brainer,” says Lizzi Hines, the founder and managing director of Pop Up Now by Spaceworks. “We want people experiencing homelessness to have at least some enjoyment when selecting clothes for themselves or their family. We are honoured to assist Julian in this campaign to advocate for an even better life for people experiencing homelessness.”

The idea for a homeless store was formed by the founders of the Street Store Organisation Maximilian Pazak and Kayli Vee Levitan in South Africa earlier this year and has now spread through 82 countries.

The notion is simple: anyone can bring quality clothes and shoes to donate to the shop and those who are less fortunate can choose what they like from the selection, bringing those who want to give back and those in need together.

“This concept is something we wholeheartedly believe in, to start conversations or dialogue. It’s about bringing people in our community together,” the organiser of the pop-up store Julian Beacham says.

There is also temporary free event parking on hand for people who want to give back, with the event running all day from sunrise until sunset.

Any clothing that isn’t given away will be given to Auckland City Mission.

The pop-up shop comes at a time when more and more Aucklanders are without homes. An Auckland Council report earlier this year that showed about 15,000 people in Auckland are seriously housing deprived.

“We care about people experiencing homelessness in Auckland and New Zealand and the latest estimated figures are concerning,” says Beacham.

“According to Lifewise, up to 250 people call into their support hub to utilise their services every month as well as many more who are working but cannot afford housing, so they’re living in their cars.”

For more information, head to www.popupauckland.info

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