Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) works with some of the most vulnerable people in Wellington to make positive changes in their lives. Their drive is a staunch belief that together we can and will end homelessness here. For years they've been a safe haven for the forgotten, providing everything from emergency food parcels, to mental health services and total money management. We're stoked to spotlight and tell the story of a special service they've been quietly running in partnership with Te Aro Healthcare Centre, who provide health services to the DCM community.
Thanks to the generous folk at Te Aro Healthcare Centre, each day two talented nurses are available for booked or walk-in appointments. They give their time and service to people like Te Amo, pictured above, and provide for a very high needs population, including people with chronic illness, substance abuse problems and mental health issues.
The good news comes off the back of DCM's own brush with homelessness, when the twin earthquakes that rocked the Cook Strait back in 2013 threatened to close them down. They instead turned disaster into opportunity and birthed their vibrant service hub, Te Korowai Nui o Te Whānau.
Inspired by DCM sitting on the original location of Te Aro Pā, Te Korowai Nui o Te Whānau - meaning ‘the big cloak that wraps around the family’ - was the name chosen for the hub at a special ‘naming hui’. In the same way that Te Aro Pā nurtured its inhabitants and visitors, Te Korowai describes the way those who come through the doors are welcomed and wrapped in support, respect and love. The Whānau part of the hub’s name represents the experience of people who come through DCM's doors; they become family. It also represents the partners in the hub who, as one family, work together to the same ends.
Te Korowai includes DCM’s current services, a new pilot service Te Hāpai, two Te Aro Health Centre health rooms, a dental service staffed by volunteer dentists, Atareira (a whanau mental health service), Easy Access Housing and other partnerships.
Te Aro Health Centre is a primary health clinic with a strong focus on providing outreach services to homeless people, as well as very low cost primary care services to vulnerable people with complex health needs. They have worked closely with DCM for many years, and now having a clinic in the same building as DCM has enormous benefit for the vulnerable Wellingtonians who come to Te Korowai.
DCM continues to support around 150 of Wellington's most vulnerable per week. If you'd like to learn more about what they do, or to support them with 1% of your income, check 'em out with the button below.