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    • DCM Bookfair 2018 - One Week to Go!
      • 27 Jul 2018
      • Downtown Community Ministry
      • 96 DCM Bookfair 2018 - One Week to Go! p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; font-size:inherit !important; 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line-height:150% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader .mcnTextContent,#templatePreheader .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:150% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templateHeader .mcnTextContent,#templateHeader .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:150% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templateBody .mcnTextContent,#templateBody .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:150% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templateFooter .mcnTextContent,#templateFooter .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:150% !important; } } Saturday 4 August, Shed 6, Queen's Wharf, 8am-6pm. DCM Bookfair 2018 - One Week to Go! View this email in your browser DCM's annual, fundraising Bookfair is ONE week away! Saturday 4 August, Shed 6, Queen's Wharf, 8am-6pm. Wellington's annual DCM Bookfair has been raising funds for vulnerable Wellingtonians for 23 years - but unless a new storage venue is found, this year's event will be the last. Our thanks to Lee-Anne Duncan for this story, published in today's Your Weekend. There's never a shortage of donations but the storage unit DCM has relied on will not be available next year, leaving the future of the book fair in doubt. Every year, book lovers flock to the DCM Bookfair on Wellington's waterfront to grab an armful of bargains in support of vulnerably housed citizens. But unless a new storage venue is found, this year's event will be the last. Lee-Anne Duncan reports. It's catnip to bibliophiles, that smell. It's the bouquet of books, heavy with dust and knowledge, to be stacked and sorted, packed then transported to Wellington's Shed 6 for next Saturday's DCM Bookfair. This year is the 23rd time hundreds of volunteers have poured thousands of hours into collecting, sorting, boxing and setting out nearly 100,000 books for the country's biggest book fair. The event is also DCM's biggest single fundraiser. Formerly known as the Downtown Community Ministry, DCM works "at the serious end" of homelessness. Along with supporting people to find sustainable accommodation, DCM provides a variety of services to support vulnerable Wellingtonians. The organisation calls the people they work with "taumai", meaning "to settle", preferring it to the less personal "client". While DCM receives funds from local and central government to carry out some of its work, donations and fundraising events like this one are its lifeblood. If this book fair is as successful as those past, a near quarter century of book fairs will have collectively raised at least $2 million to fund DCM's work. "That's $2 million we haven't had to ask of central or local government agencies," says Stephanie McIntyre, DCM's director for the past 14 years. "The only reason we have been able to raise that money is through the generosity of Wellingtonians who donate their books, the people who buy them, and of course the volunteers who give their time to make it all happen." A fundraiser's success often comes down to those volunteers, especially for an event as large and complex as DCM's annual book fair. But this year's event might be its last, as the planned development of Shelly Bay means the Wellington City Council-owned warehouse used to store and sort donated books won't be available next year. "All this is absolutely at risk," says McIntyre. "We have had zero response trying to find another warehouse. We'd love to have another book fair as it's become such a classic Wellington thing and it's essential fundraising for us. Next year is our 50th birthday and it would be a great shame not to have a book fair in such an important year." DCM director Stephanie McIntyre. Many – if not most – of the fair's volunteers give their time year after year. A core group of about 30 helpers travel to the warehouse on Thursdays or Saturdays, or both, for generally five or six hours a day every week between April and August. There, wrapped up against the winter chill, they receive donations, sort the books into categories, then into subcategories, and sometimes even into micro-categories. "I've found quite a few books on grief. I'm hoping I can get enough together to make a section of its own," says long-time volunteer Wendy Nelson. "And I've got all these diet books. This year we seem to have a lot of paleo books." Spirited exchanges have been known to happen over categories. All Blacks Don't Cry by John Kirwan, for example: "Is that sport or mental health? I even found copy in Psychology earlier," says Nelson. If there's more than one copy – and often there is – the books can be allotted wherever book seekers may think to find it. A marine biologist, Nelson works full time as a principal scientist at Niwa but spends her Saturdays sorting. She's been involved in the book fair every year since the first, in 1996. "The then director, Helen Walch, said she'd had this great idea to hold a second-hand book fair as a fundraiser that would engage the volunteers and community. "I thought it sounded like a good idea – I like books, so why not get involved? DCM does such important work, and is such an important part of Wellington. Sometimes it's hard to know how to contribute, but this is a way for us to do our own small bit."  Volunteer Wendy Nelson, a marine biologist and book lover. Each year DCM supports about 1000 people who are experiencing homelessness or in danger of becoming homeless. But the work DCM does goes far beyond putting a roof over their heads. Every DCM day begins with a karakia and waiata. DCM kaimahi (staff) and their taumai gather to give thanks for the new day at 9am when the organisation's doors open in Te Aro's Lukes Lane. Social workers are on hand to talk to taumai to get to the heart of why they're experiencing homelessness. They support the person to access a benefit and manage their money, find and sustain housing, and connect to whānau and culture, health and other services. Statistics New Zealand defines homelessness as: "Living situations where people with no other options to acquire safe and secure housing are without shelter, in temporary accommodation, sharing accommodation with a household, or living in uninhabitable housing." Research by Otago School of Medicine in 2016 put the number of New Zealanders living this way at more than 40,000 people, nearly 1 per cent of our total population – the highest rate of homelessness in the OECD. It's difficult to accurately quantify homelessness. During this year's census, DCM staff worked with Statistics NZ staff to encourage and support people who were homeless to complete the census forms. "We explained that government funding decisions are made on census data, so filling out the census made sure they were counted," says McIntyre. DCM's own data vividly describes the increase in demand. Over the past five years, the number of people who are homeless that come to DCM for support has increased by more than a third. "Even more worrying, the number of people we see who are actually without shelter – so rough sleeping, or sleeping in cars – has more than doubled." McIntyre expects the number of people DCM supports to increase this year. "When you get a severe housing crisis, as we have now, it's the most vulnerable who are kicked to the end of the line. As housing gets harder for everyone it gets especially hard for these people, which makes our work even more necessary." In May, the Government announced $100 million to address homelessness – $37 million of that was allocated to find places by the end of this winter, with the rest spent over four years on the Housing First programme. While DCM will be at the forefront of delivering Housing First in Wellington, the organisation will continue to rely on volunteers and donations to pay for its core services. We visit four Saturdays from sale day. There's a stiff nor'wester whipping the waves a few metres from the warehouse. Out in the harbour, a rare southern right whale is leading the news. Te Amo Roberts, another volunteer and someone DCM has supported, reports he saw the whale on his way in. He stirs himself a coffee between breaking down cardboard boxes and helping with some of the "grunt work". Volunteer Te Amo Roberts received assistance from DCM in the past. Today, he's an important part of the book fair team. "There are some biscuits on the sideboard, Te Amo – Cameo Cremes," says McIntyre, who's holding a brief meeting with a small group of volunteers, a long, tightly written to-do list on her crossed knee. Cut sandwiches and fruit are boxed on the sideboard, along with those Cameo Cremes. Everyone knows a volunteer army sorts and packs on its stomach. Most of the fair's book-sorting volunteers stick to their areas of expertise – a retired anaesthetist is set to work deciding which medical books are still useful, and a war buff flicks through the military books. They determine which books will sell and for how much, which subjects are likely to be "in"' this year, and which – judging by the number of those donated – are on their way out. The volunteers' knowledge also means they're well-placed to spot a valuable book. Then, with the aid of local auction house expertise and internet bookseller searches, a price is applied and the book is included in the high-value stack. "We do get some amazing finds where people might not have realised they've gifted us an extraordinary treasure, but we have no way of reuniting it with its owner," says McIntyre, who, drawing on her own pre DCM music industry career knowledge, found a rare Beatles book some fairs back. "At the same time I'm sure we've had books we've sold for $2 that may have been worth hundreds. But you've got to be philosophical." A hand-drawn diagram of the Shed 6 book fair layout is pinned to the wall. Each table has a number assigned to a book category: children's, history, health, fiction (so much fiction), New Zealand, art, and so on. The more work done now, the better 100 or so volunteers on set-up day know exactly where everything fits. Taking too many books to fit a category's allocated section would lead to chaos – setting out 90,000 books is a precise science. "We've got a phenomenally good offering of children's books this year, so we've had to shuffle up some other things to accommodate that," says McIntyre, scrutinising the diagram. "The foreign languages are fine but the music is the big headache at the moment," says one volunteer, popping in to give McIntyre a quick update on her areas. The team is following a packing plan with scheduled revision points. According to the plan, by this day 75 per cent of books must be sorted, tallied and packed on pallets (each holding about 800 books) ready for transportation to Shed 6 at dawn the day before fair day. With clipboard in hand, Alexi Manouilenko is responsible for the tally. DCM stepped in when he needed support a couple of years ago, which led to him volunteering on fair day in 2016. "As well as wanting to give back to DCM, I'd been out of work for a while and people are reluctant to hire you when you don't have anything to explain your time off. I realised the best way to get back into work was to volunteer to show I could work. I already knew DCM so I volunteered for two years. That led to some paid work and now I have a full-time job with DCM."  Part of Manouilenko's job is to decide how many books in each category should go to the fair and use his maths skills to keep tabs on the packing. "I look at the previous two years to see how many books were taken in each category and how many were sold. From that I try to guess at what we should take this year, and I tell the volunteers how many boxes in each category to pack." This level of organisation is why DCM must close the book on donations four weeks out from the fair. Even on the last day, every few minutes book-toting donors poke their heads around the peeling-painted door. "I just want to drop some books," says a man, setting down his burden. "Thank you, mate," says McIntyre. "Come to the fair and buy a whole lot more, won't you?" Surely he will – book lovers only clear their shelves to fill them with new finds. While the DCM Bookfair is certainly about finding new homes for old books, it's also about raising funds to support marginalised Wellingtonians into homes of their own. Nelson remembers when the team was ecstatic to raise $15,000 – now the book fair raises around $100,000, which goes directly into funding DCM's work with people experiencing homelessness. It's that work, as well as their shared love of books, that motivates the volunteers. Volunteer Tamara Morton with stacks of books ready for the fair. Tamara Morton is a consulate advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but spends her Saturday mornings in the warehouse's fiction section, estimating the book-buying public's appetite for Philippa Gregory and Dan Brown. "When I was living overseas, circumstances happened that I found myself looking for a place to live. It was short-lived and I've never been truly homeless, but I can't forget the anguish that came with thinking, 'What am I going to do? I've got nowhere to go.' To be able to help an organisation with the resources to address that is why I do this for DCM. "There's also the huge bonus of making connections with people you wouldn't meet in a lifetime of routine days. The people who work here come from all sorts of backgrounds and different stages of life. It's really cute to see the cheeky banter that goes on between a Millennial and a Baby Boomer. It's really delightful to be a part of that." Nelson is busy assessing travel guides (nothing published before 2010 goes on sale). "What I love about the book fair is that everyone's winning," she says. "The people off-loading their books feel they're going to a good place, the people who rock up to the book fair get fantastic bargains, and the people who volunteer get satisfaction from contributing to something. And it's about making connections into the community." Our thanks to Lee-Anne Duncan for this story, published in today's Your Weekend. Feel free get in touch with us at DCM over the coming week if you have any questions about the Bookfair on (04) 384 7699 or events@dcm.org.nz Click Here to Donate Now! <!-- --> Copyright © 2018 DCM, All rights reserved. Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list
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    • In the census, did the homeless count?
      • 27 Mar 2018
      • Downtown Community Ministry
      • 96 In the census, did the homeless count? p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; font-size:inherit !important; 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In the census, did the homeless count? View this email in your browser   Ngā mihi mahana, In this month's census, DCM was determined to ensure that our taumai were counted. We wanted to share this story from The Spinoff with you at the end of this tax year, and invite you to make a donation to the on-going work of DCM in Wellington. Remember that for every dollar you donate, you can claim one-third back as a tax deduction.  In the census, did the homeless count? With the 2018 census pushed online there’s been much discussion about reaching those without computer access, who still need someone to knock on their door. But what about those without even a door to knock upon? Lee-Anne Duncan visited DCM. The southerly marks a sharp turn from a stunner summer to chilly autumn. At the start of each season, DCM marks the change with “Seasonal Kai”, a lunch they put on for their “taumai” – which is what DCM calls the people it supports, Wellington’s vulnerably housed or homeless. Some 30 taumai – meaning “to settle” – have come to the lunch. About half are Māori and there’s only one woman, a fair representation of DCM’s clientele. They’re very welcome. With the food waiting, a karakia is given and everyone is asked to consider what the change to the colder months means for those sleeping rough, those without a home. It’s happenstance the quarterly kai has fallen on that day, one of three in early March that hi-vis-clad Statistics New Zealand’s field officers are at DCM to guide taumai through filling out the census forms. But it likely means a few more have turned up and will agree to add their details to the national count – something DCM encourages those assembled to do. “This is a really important time for taumai to have a voice and tell the government we need to build more houses and feed more support and resources back to you. Filling out the census helps you add your voice,” the group is told. Situated on the site of Wellington’s Te Aro Pā, DCM’s kaupapa follows what would have happened at the pā all those years ago. “This is where people came for food, for shelter, for community, to have a voice, to speak, to be heard, to be lifted up, to be counted,” says DCM’s Michelle Scott. “So for us, supporting our people to be included in the census reinforces the kaupapa of this place. “It’s been a great opportunity for our community to get together, to chew the fat about what’s important, what’s necessary for them to move forward, and what society should be prioritising.” That’s exactly what Statistics NZ’s Dr John Mitchell set out to record when refocusing on how to count the hard-to-reach. “Many of them have high needs in terms of government services. Since government spending decisions are made on the basis of census data it’s even more important they are counted.”   Without needing as many people to go door-to-door this time, John says they could dedicate field officers to target people who couldn’t be reached with an internet code. “That includes groups who are low responding and need more encouragement and assistance to be enabled to do the census. We had a community engagement team out talking to many communities – Māori, Pacific, culturally and linguistically diverse communities – getting the message across why it’s important to do the census, and looking at ways to enable them. A subset of that was obviously the rough sleeping homeless.” As John’s team was out engaging, Michelle was also looking for ways to enable taumai to take part in the census. The organisation had worked hard to encourage them to vote in last year’s election, and many did. The feeling of empowerment, of having a say and being heard, remained. John and Michelle came up with the idea of having census officers at DCM – and other similar organisations around the country – to help marginalised people fill in the census. “Usually that’s done by a street count,” says John. “Where field officers walk along looking for people sleeping rough, and try to persuade them to give enough information to complete at least some of the individual form. “This census we’ve taken a multi-faceted approach. We’ve done a street count, but in eight cities we’ve worked with organisations who engaged directly using different approaches depending on what would suit their clients.” “It seems to have gone well, with lots of buy-in by letting the people the rough sleepers know and trust recommend doing the census.” Trust is certainly a major issue for  taumai and others like them. While voting is just ticking a box, filling out the census means handing over personal information. “But they trust DCM and trust us not to get them into trouble,” says Natalia Cleland, one of DCM’s social workers. “We’ve been talking about the census for weeks. We put up notices covering what the census is about, why it’s useful and what happens with the information. Our taumai also had the chance to tell us their concerns, then we could get the right information to give them confidence.” “It also gave them time to gather the information they needed,” says Michelle. “We could say, ‘If you’re Māori and you aren’t sure about your iwi, go away and find out so you can include it in the census’. “We wanted them to come with that rich part of who they are and what’s gone before them. It really appealed to them as a topic of conversation and it was fascinating to see them connecting and discussing their various backgrounds. So lots of other positive things have come out of doing the census here.” But for the country the main benefit of having three days of census filling at DCM, and like organisations, is that many people have registered their existence who otherwise wouldn’t have. “Some of our people don’t have any ID and may not even be recorded on any databases. If they’ve filled out the census they are recorded somewhere as a human being and as a New Zealander,” says Michelle. While not having an address is one barrier to filling out the census, low-to-no literacy is another. Even taumai who DCM has supported into housing came in for support, with one knocking at DCM’s door at 8:55am on census day morning, waving his census form. Yes, Statistics NZ offered to send field officers to people’s homes if they needed help, but that wouldn’t have worked for all of DCM’s taumai, says Michelle. “This is where their whānau is. Here, some of them have sat in our marae atea and discussed their answers with each other. They had kōrero with others who had already done it, and they’d say, ‘Well, I did that, I ticked that box’, so they got a huge resource from one another.” Robert is one who wouldn’t have completed the census without DCM’s help. Released from prison in 2016, he slept for a while in his van. He’s housed now, but came to DCM to do this census – his first ever. “If someone hadn’t helped me, I would have just got pissed off with trying. We were told the story of why you should fill it out, and then it made sense to me so I did it. “I encourage people who have been in prison all their lives to do this. It’s a piece of the puzzle that is missing. When we include ourselves in things like this, it helps us to feel part of the bigger picture and you want to do it more and more. It feels pretty cool to fill it out.” Jason sleeps anywhere that’s (hopefully) warm and dry. Along with homelessness, literacy issues would have prevented him filling out the census. “I understand we’re not counted but they’re trying to make a change, the government. I wanted to fill it out because it adds to the big picture. But without someone helping me, I couldn’t. I appreciate DCM giving us the opportunity to have a voice.” The staff at DCM are happy to play their part in drawing that big picture. “It’s not giving an accurate picture of New Zealand society if we count only people who are willing and able to fill out their census forms,” says Natalia. “We’re helping provide New Zealand build an accurate picture of who we are, and who are the ones with the highest needs. That feels really valuable.” Statistics NZ can’t pinpoint when this year’s data will be available, but be sure everyone at DCM will be watching to see how that data is used. “We’ve reinforced that this is about reciprocity – ‘tuki atu, tuku mai’, another of our kaupapa,” says Michelle. “We told our taumai that they give their information so, in turn, the government can support them – with enough houses, hospitals, doctors, etc. “They now feel like they have a voice, that they count. Now they are watching to see if they’ve been heard.” Freelance journalist Lee-Anne Duncan contributed this piece as a volunteer for The Community Comms Collective, whose pro bono clients include DCM. Thank you for your ongoing support, From everyone at DCM.   Click Here to Donate Now! <!-- --> Copyright © 2018 DCM, All rights reserved. Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list
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    • In the census, did the homeless count?
      • 27 Mar 2018
      • Downtown Community Ministry
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In the census, did the homeless count? View this email in your browser   Ngā mihi mahana, In this month's census, DCM was determined to ensure that our taumai were counted. We wanted to share this story from The Spinoff with you at the end of this tax year, and invite you to make a donation to the on-going work of DCM in Wellington. Remember that for every dollar you donate, you can claim one-third back as a tax deduction.  In the census, did the homeless count? With the 2018 census pushed online there’s been much discussion about reaching those without computer access, who still need someone to knock on their door. But what about those without even a door to knock upon? Lee-Anne Duncan visited DCM. The southerly marks a sharp turn from a stunner summer to chilly autumn. At the start of each season, DCM marks the change with “Seasonal Kai”, a lunch they put on for their “taumai” – which is what DCM calls the people it supports, Wellington’s vulnerably housed or homeless. Some 30 taumai – meaning “to settle” – have come to the lunch. About half are Māori and there’s only one woman, a fair representation of DCM’s clientele. They’re very welcome. With the food waiting, a karakia is given and everyone is asked to consider what the change to the colder months means for those sleeping rough, those without a home. It’s happenstance the quarterly kai has fallen on that day, one of three in early March that hi-vis-clad Statistics New Zealand’s field officers are at DCM to guide taumai through filling out the census forms. But it likely means a few more have turned up and will agree to add their details to the national count – something DCM encourages those assembled to do. “This is a really important time for taumai to have a voice and tell the government we need to build more houses and feed more support and resources back to you. Filling out the census helps you add your voice,” the group is told. Situated on the site of Wellington’s Te Aro Pā, DCM’s kaupapa follows what would have happened at the pā all those years ago. “This is where people came for food, for shelter, for community, to have a voice, to speak, to be heard, to be lifted up, to be counted,” says DCM’s Michelle Scott. “So for us, supporting our people to be included in the census reinforces the kaupapa of this place. “It’s been a great opportunity for our community to get together, to chew the fat about what’s important, what’s necessary for them to move forward, and what society should be prioritising.” That’s exactly what Statistics NZ’s Dr John Mitchell set out to record when refocusing on how to count the hard-to-reach. “Many of them have high needs in terms of government services. Since government spending decisions are made on the basis of census data it’s even more important they are counted.”   Without needing as many people to go door-to-door this time, John says they could dedicate field officers to target people who couldn’t be reached with an internet code. “That includes groups who are low responding and need more encouragement and assistance to be enabled to do the census. We had a community engagement team out talking to many communities – Māori, Pacific, culturally and linguistically diverse communities – getting the message across why it’s important to do the census, and looking at ways to enable them. A subset of that was obviously the rough sleeping homeless.” As John’s team was out engaging, Michelle was also looking for ways to enable taumai to take part in the census. The organisation had worked hard to encourage them to vote in last year’s election, and many did. The feeling of empowerment, of having a say and being heard, remained. John and Michelle came up with the idea of having census officers at DCM – and other similar organisations around the country – to help marginalised people fill in the census. “Usually that’s done by a street count,” says John. “Where field officers walk along looking for people sleeping rough, and try to persuade them to give enough information to complete at least some of the individual form. “This census we’ve taken a multi-faceted approach. We’ve done a street count, but in eight cities we’ve worked with organisations who engaged directly using different approaches depending on what would suit their clients.” “It seems to have gone well, with lots of buy-in by letting the people the rough sleepers know and trust recommend doing the census.” Trust is certainly a major issue for  taumai and others like them. While voting is just ticking a box, filling out the census means handing over personal information. “But they trust DCM and trust us not to get them into trouble,” says Natalia Cleland, one of DCM’s social workers. “We’ve been talking about the census for weeks. We put up notices covering what the census is about, why it’s useful and what happens with the information. Our taumai also had the chance to tell us their concerns, then we could get the right information to give them confidence.” “It also gave them time to gather the information they needed,” says Michelle. “We could say, ‘If you’re Māori and you aren’t sure about your iwi, go away and find out so you can include it in the census’. “We wanted them to come with that rich part of who they are and what’s gone before them. It really appealed to them as a topic of conversation and it was fascinating to see them connecting and discussing their various backgrounds. So lots of other positive things have come out of doing the census here.” But for the country the main benefit of having three days of census filling at DCM, and like organisations, is that many people have registered their existence who otherwise wouldn’t have. “Some of our people don’t have any ID and may not even be recorded on any databases. If they’ve filled out the census they are recorded somewhere as a human being and as a New Zealander,” says Michelle. While not having an address is one barrier to filling out the census, low-to-no literacy is another. Even taumai who DCM has supported into housing came in for support, with one knocking at DCM’s door at 8:55am on census day morning, waving his census form. Yes, Statistics NZ offered to send field officers to people’s homes if they needed help, but that wouldn’t have worked for all of DCM’s taumai, says Michelle. “This is where their whānau is. Here, some of them have sat in our marae atea and discussed their answers with each other. They had kōrero with others who had already done it, and they’d say, ‘Well, I did that, I ticked that box’, so they got a huge resource from one another.” Robert is one who wouldn’t have completed the census without DCM’s help. Released from prison in 2016, he slept for a while in his van. He’s housed now, but came to DCM to do this census – his first ever. “If someone hadn’t helped me, I would have just got pissed off with trying. We were told the story of why you should fill it out, and then it made sense to me so I did it. “I encourage people who have been in prison all their lives to do this. It’s a piece of the puzzle that is missing. When we include ourselves in things like this, it helps us to feel part of the bigger picture and you want to do it more and more. It feels pretty cool to fill it out.” Jason sleeps anywhere that’s (hopefully) warm and dry. Along with homelessness, literacy issues would have prevented him filling out the census. “I understand we’re not counted but they’re trying to make a change, the government. I wanted to fill it out because it adds to the big picture. But without someone helping me, I couldn’t. I appreciate DCM giving us the opportunity to have a voice.” The staff at DCM are happy to play their part in drawing that big picture. “It’s not giving an accurate picture of New Zealand society if we count only people who are willing and able to fill out their census forms,” says Natalia. “We’re helping provide New Zealand build an accurate picture of who we are, and who are the ones with the highest needs. That feels really valuable.” Statistics NZ can’t pinpoint when this year’s data will be available, but be sure everyone at DCM will be watching to see how that data is used. “We’ve reinforced that this is about reciprocity – ‘tuki atu, tuku mai’, another of our kaupapa,” says Michelle. “We told our taumai that they give their information so, in turn, the government can support them – with enough houses, hospitals, doctors, etc. “They now feel like they have a voice, that they count. Now they are watching to see if they’ve been heard.” Freelance journalist Lee-Anne Duncan contributed this piece as a volunteer for The Community Comms Collective, whose pro bono clients include DCM. Thank you for your ongoing support, From everyone at DCM.   Click Here to Donate Now! <!-- --> Copyright © 2018 DCM, All rights reserved. Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list
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