Sleeping Rough In Auckland City

All week I have been anticipating ‘sleeping rough’ for Lifewise #bigsleepout in Central Auckland. Loaded up with my essentials: (loaned) sleeping bag, beanie, merino gloves, IPhone (to tweet), house keys, ATM card, lipstick and WHORE flyers for potential audience. After registering for the event, we all received personalised cardboard mats and a goodie bag: beanie, Idealog, Special K bar and Merge Cafe voucher. The Whore team scouted an ideal location to settle down, then dinner was on the agenda. Over 100 people lined up for meatballs and spaghetti with a slice of buttered bread: hearty meal. Icecream quickly followed, sponsored by Nice Blocks. We heard great speeches by Lifewise, poetry and an interview with Chanelle who told her story about homelessness, sex work, foster care, mental health admissions and her new job. I was invited into the makeshift cardboard house, shared conversation with many new friends/rough sleepers and was photographed/filmed by random people. Yes – I did sign a media release. The night is chilly, however it’s not raining. There are sleeping bags all over the AUT campus filled with human life. At the time of writing the fundraising figure to (fund) frontline services for homelessness 2014 is $153,357.39! Whore team raised $3,165.00 for Lifewise Big Sleep Out 2014. I am humble. I am grateful. I am cold and slightly hungry, however this is a temporary measure. This experience keeps me real and makes me feel lucky to be alive, with people who care.

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