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by Greta Yeoman

Timaru’s Shelter Project is set to launch a fundraising campaign later this month.

The transitional housing scheme was started by Jono Martin, along with his wife, Malu Williams, and friend Shardous Wynen in August last year to help those in Timaru struggling to find housing.

While the trio had originally hoped to be providing housing for homeless South Canterbury residents by this winter, the project had been slow going.

Mr Martin told The Courierlast week that the Shelter Project trust now had seven members and was planning to launch a fundraising campaign at the Landing Services Building on May 29.

Jono Martin

The time of the launch is yet to be confirmed.

Mr Martin said the next six months would be focused on fundraising for a building to fit out into temporary housing.

“[We are] hoping this time next year to have a facility.”

The fundraising efforts would mostly focus on obtaining grants, but they would also be seeking monetary support from the South Canterbury public, he said.

Mr Martin also welcomed hands-on support from residents with various skills – particularly seeking anyone interested in being the trust’s secretary.

He had already had offers of help from a few construction workers, a social worker and an occupational therapist.

“All skills [are] welcome.”

While he was looking forward to the fundraising launch in a few weeks, it had been difficult in the early stages as they had already had people seeking support.

“It’s hard because we are turning people away.”

However, it was about the balance between supporting a few people with the small amount of money the trust had raised, or providing wider support for the community in the long-term, Mr Martin said.

The project had come about after his father, the late John Martin, had spent nine months living in his van in 2014, Mr Martin previously told The Courier

While he and other family members had offered his father a place to stay, his father, who died in May last year, was a “proud man”.

Because of this, Mr Martin had been had inspired to do something to help Timaru’s homeless population.

The Shelter Project would eventually provide transitional housing for residents, giving them a place to live while also addressing the causes for their homelessness and eventually helping them back into permanent housing, he said.

For more information on the project or to get in contact with the trust, the Shelter Project can be found on Facebook.