It is with pleasure that we give you feedback on the benefits of the Nightshelter to our son (Tom, fictitious name).
Having an alcoholic son has been a long and difficult journey for us – particularly as our son didn’t believe he needed help with his problem and we watched his slow decline of losing his wife, children, friends, job and recently his home. Earlier this year our son was facing eviction from his rental and despite our efforts to get him help every door seemed shut to us. Mental health deemed him not to be a risk to himself or others and would therefore not intervene at our request. The drug and alcohol helpline offered support for us (via Al-Anon) but said that if Tom wasn’t prepared to admit he had a problem they could do nothing. We approached the Salvation Army and again while they visited Tom they too said unless Tom wanted help they could do nothing.
Our son was still evicted from his home and his finances were in tatters with debts for rent, power, phone, car, etc. As a family we made the difficult decision not to feed his habit so the support we gave him was food and unconditional love – but that didn’t put a roof over his head.
Thankfully in conversations with the Tauranga Hospital they gave us the telephone number of the Tauranga Moana Nightshelter Trust and speaking with the House Parent on that first occasion was the first bright light for us after having been in a long black tunnel. The House Parent explained how the shelter worked and offered to speak to the Manager on our behalf to see if Tom would be able to stay at the men’s shelter on his eviction from his home. The reply was yes.
The day we dropped Tom off at the shelter the Manager met us with Tom and a volunteer social worker. Tom was in the process of trying to get a benefit from WINZ and The Manager immediately offered to put together a CV for him the following morning so that he could attend the training session later that day. We were encouraged that Tom was now in an environment that understood his problems and one that would pro-actively help him get his life back together.
The strict rules of residence of no alcohol on site and the fact that the men have to contribute to the chores is having a positive effect on Tom. Since being at the shelter we have been able to let Tom see his two daughters again (with our supervision). After 4 months of not seeing each other the get-togethers (usually in parks) have been very beneficial to all of them.
The on-site social worker challenges Tom to make better life choices and he has started to do charity work and all of this is helping him to get back into the world of work and self-responsibility.
The Tauranga Moana Nightshelter Trust has been a God-send to Tom and to us as a family. Despite 2 years of trying to get help for Tom via other agencies we continually ran into a blank wall. The Nightshelter team do a wonderful job in offering support for people like Tom who because of their addiction fall through the cracks.