Jenni grew up in Te Aroha where her family have farmed for four generations. She has a long history as a qualified occupational therapist with an interest in home, housing and homelessness developing after working in a Vietnamese refugee camp as a new graduate. After moving to the United Kingdom in the 1990’s she worked for a London housing department running the Homelessness Independent Living Team. This included work with both families and individuals with medical needs in temporary accommodation and consulting with homelessness service providers around resettlement and tenancy sustainment. She completed her master’s thesis at the London School of Economics looking into homeless service provision. Returning home to New Zealand in 2007 she is currently a senior occupational therapy lecturer at AUT and a PhD candidate studying ‘What makes the transition to sustaining a permanent home possible, for families in temporary accommodation?
Peter originates from North Wales and became formally qualified as a social worker a few years ago after a range of occupations from being a chef in London to being a fisherman in the southern ocean.
Peter is currently the Manager of the Hamilton Christian Nightshelter Trust where he manages two shelters – one for males which caters for 25 men and one for females which caters for up to 12 women.
Why did he become involved in the issues of homelessness? Peter says – ‘There is a well-known saying that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’. It is slightly different for us Welsh people. It was decreed in the 12th century by an English king that ‘Welshmen shall not have castles’. Since then Welshmen have been adamant that they will have castles!’
For Peter, the right to shelter is a basic right that should be accorded to all members of our society.