Making a difference for Māngere’s homeless and youth is what’s driving Toni Helleur in her new role.
Helleur, who has been funded by the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board, is working in the Māngere Town Centre and Māngere East Village to help those living on the streets and those youth who are turning to vandalism and theft.
The qualified sports massage therapist says the role has some similarities with her other job as a business owner of a corporate health and wellbeing company, in that it’s about listening to people and finding holistic solutions.
“It’s about taking more of a holistic approach to things and finding out the root causes," the Māngere resident says.
"Our goal is to make the shopping centres a great place to come and visit, while also seeing what help can be provided to those who are homeless or begging.”
Taking a coordinated approach has led to some success, with a family who were sleeping rough near the shopping area on Massey Road, being provided a place to live.
Helleur says treating people with dignity is a big part of her approach.
“My view is that these homeless, beggars and youth are still a part of our community and the issues they face are issues many are facing in our area. We have been able to bring in the Police, the local businesses and the community as well as outside organisations like Link People to have a real wrap-around approach.”
Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Chair Lemauga Lydia Sosene says it’s been fantastic having Toni Helleur working around the town centre and the Māngere East Village.
“Toni has brought lots of energy to the role and we are really proud to have provided funding so that our shopping areas can feel safer and those struggling can be connected to the appropriate services.”