Rotorua man remortgages his own house to help homeless, shelters 1000 people in one year

Headlines 05/07/2019

One Rotorua man has proven to be a hero for the homeless, after he mortgaged his own home to feed and house more than 1000 people in a year. 50-year-old Tiny Deane put aside his own money for his cause, funding three large night shelters for Rotorua's homeless community last year.

Mr Deane now has government funding, which is timely considering he is feeding and housing as many as 100 people a night during the winter months.

It was certainly no easy task to set all of this up, as he sold a rental house he owned, borrowed against his primary home, and set up a charity called Visions of a Helping Hand to try to house Rotorua's homeless.

"I didn't even talk about it; we just did it. The next day I went out and found a property and we started feeding the people a week later."

In less than 10 months, we had three shelters.

One of the shelters is for nights only, opening at 8pm and staying open until the next morning whilst being occupied primarily by men, where as another of his shelters is for women and children. His last shelter operates out of Taupo as part of an expansion plan that Mr Deane hopes to implement around the North Island.

His services aren't exclusive to housing either, as he also provides appointments with doctors and psychologists for his guests.

"It's a massive job. It's bigger than I ever thought. Because I didn't realise about the addictions, the anger, the built-up stuff. Some of these guys, it's unbelievable what they've been through, and are still going through now, so it's good to help."

Mr Deane says that the charity has also helped 12 people find permanent housing, as well as 50 jobs, and then even further, they have saved the lives of seven people who had overdosed on drugs.

It's an incredible story, and one that ought to be heard everywhere. People like Mr Deane are the unsung heroes of this country, forget the politicians, the celebrities, and all the media bulls*t and agendas, this man is what this country stands for.

Mr Deane, we salute you.

Credit to Jordan Bond of RNZ for the story and photos.