TOGETHER WE CAN END HOMELESSNESS IN WELLINGTON
It’s a brisk and windy Wellington morning when we arrive at DCM (formally Downtown Community Ministry) on Lukes Lane for our first day of filming. A crowd of people gather outside, waiting for their morning ritual to begin.
As 9am draws closer the DCM doors open and the team come and join the growing crowd outside, greeting the waiting people by name. Familiar with this morning routine, the crowd needs no prompting as they form a circle and begin their morning singing session, followed by a karakia. This is how every morning goes here at DCM, before everyone funnels inside for a warm drinking and support from the even warmer staff.
DCM’s Michelle Scott tells us their morning waiata has even piqued the interest of passers by and neighbouring businesses, like the physiotherapist next door who now comes and volunteers his services at DCM.
DCM has been operating in Wellington for over 50 years, serving some of the most marginalised in our community - people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. They support people to find and sustain housing, access benefits, manage their money, connect to whānau, health providers, and many other services and supports. DCM calls the people they work with taumai, meaning to settle. This reflects the journey they embark on together to become settled, stable and well.
Homelessness is a complex issue, one that our inhouse director/ producer Steph Miller has always taken an interest in. Her film Humans, winner of Best NZ Short at DocEdge International Film Festival in 2019, connected four people through their shared experience of homelessness and gave insight to a community that's rarely given the opportunity to speak about their thoughts and experiences in such a way.
When we learned about the important mahi DCM does for our community we just had to reach out and see how we could help their cause. The chance to do more to raise awareness and help make change happen in this space was one we jumped at.
Our crew followed Natalia Cleland and her outreach team to get a better understanding of the work DCM does. Along the way we learned that small change means just that, passersby giving money and food to people on the street can actually prevent those people from connecting with the services and support they desperately need. So instead of giving out your spare change out on the street, give it to DCM and help them to give the type of change that means something for the long run.
DCMs ambitious tagline is “together we can end homelessness in Wellington” - emphasis on the together! We all need to do our part to help solve this complex issue.
Find out more about how you can support DCM at www.dcm.org.nz and check out our short documentary on the great mahi they do for our community.