An Auckland tax lawyer is sleeping rough outside to raise money for homelessness.
The annual Lifewise Big Sleep out is happening on 20 June at Eden Park.
Lifewise has a fundraising target of $250,000 and so far $71,365 has been collected.
Jai Nario is a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers and is taking part. She has so far raised $4,422.
Mrs Nario has previously taken part in the big sleep out in 2017. She has also been involved in City Mission relief projects including making care packs for homeless people.
As she explains, Winter, is a particularly challenging time for people who live on the street.
“Last time I did this, there was thunder and lightning and we were sleeping outside. But that’s the reality for homeless people. This is what they go through. It’s also safe for us in that we have security guards and there are quite a few of us participating,” she says.
Mrs Nario says while they will have some protection from the weather, it does simulate the conditions that homeless people deal with daily.
“I’ve been told that Eden Park will be a little better for us if it rains, but will be colder. Last time I did this we were at the AUT City Campus. We will be each given a cardboard box and that’ll be home for the night.”
“Even with thermals on and a warm sleeping bag, it’s still very cold. The homeless are generally not this well-equipped,” she says.
Jai Nario was born in the Philippines and moved to New Zealand when she was 11 years old. She has been back to her home country several times over the years, where homelessness is a much more serious issue.
“I’ve seen how big the problem is there such as in Manila where along with homelessness there are squatters who have built makeshift shelter on the side of the road. It saddens me to see similar situations occurring in parts of Auckland. It’s nowhere near as bad but it’s certainly getting worse,” she says.
Along with raising money, she says it is about raising awareness and breaking down the stereotypical view of homeless people.
“They’re not all begging for money to fund alcohol or drug habits. Many are genuinely in hardship,” she says.
Lawyers and others that are able to offer financial support can do so through the Lifewise BigSleepout website.