How a ‘hybrid’ Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is helping New Zealand’s homeless
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
There are about 41,000 people living on the streets in New Zealand – a number that sadly may rise as a result of Covid-19’s impact on the economy.
A company called Orange Sky has been helping the homeless in a unique way since 2018 thanks to some special transportation.
The company says it plans to add more similar vehicles in the next few years.
Each Sprinter is fitted with two washers and two dryers, which are run by a diesel generator. At the back the vans also have a shower, sink and space to get changed. A large water tank holds enough for five-six washes and showers.
The vans are also fitted with a router to provide free wi-fi.
Orange Sky is a non-profit organisation that traces its origins back to Australia in 2014 and two 20-year-olds, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett.
Kiwi Eddie Uini brought the model to NZ in 2018, with the first van supported by the Hugo Charitable Trust, and help from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
That free mobile laundry service is a key part of Orange Sky. But equally important to date has been the six orange chairs that are pulled out at every stop, for conversation and community spirit.
That has had to change in the last few weeks of Covid-19 lockdown, but the company says as NZ enters Alert Level 3 it’s getting ready to “roll out a new community response service model, with increased health and safety measures [details yet to be confirmed].
Click here for more information on the Orange Sky project.