1 News in New Zealand have published a story about the Rapid Relief Team’s work in Tauranga to help the homeless community.

The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church established the RRT in 2013 to express the Church’s principles of care and compassion. The RRT is staffed by Church volunteers who provide catering services at a range of charitable events and emergencies.

Globally, the RRT has more than 14,500 volunteers and operates in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, the United States, Canada and Germany.

Tauranga volunteers rally around growing homeless community

Tauranga residents are rallying around their homeless community to provide food and basic necessities, as well as offering health services as that community grows.

Homeless numbers in Tauranga grow as rent and house prices also increase

Housing and rental prices in the city have reached an all-time high, making it more difficult for more people to keep a roof over their head.

Every Monday night, volunteers amass at a local carpark to help those sleeping rough – including giving them haircuts and donating personal hygiene products.

The rapid relief team usually supports communities during emergencies, but tonight they’re flipping burgers for the needy alongside charity Street Kai.

Rapid Relief’s Grant Etchells says even people with a home can need help sometimes.

“It’s not just people sleeping on the streets, there’s people that might have a job, but after rent there’s nothing left for food,” Mr Etchells said.

A housing shortage has led to increased social inequality in Tauranga, which is not helped by a ban on begging and rough sleeping which was rolled out in April.

Up to 100 people seek help from the volunteers each week.