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Council Approves Homelessness Strategy

Council approves Homelessness Strategy

Wellington City Council last night unanimously approved a Homelessness Strategy that aims to assist the city's homeless and help address related safety concerns.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the Homelessness Strategy was prompted by recommendations made by the city's Homeless Taskforce established in July last year and has been devised in consultation with a number of social agencies.

"Homelessness is a difficult issue that many cities struggle with. With this strategy we believe we have a guiding document for the city and an agreement for all those involved in the care and support of homeless people," she says.

The Strategy outlines the Council's role in addressing issues associated with homelessness. It provides a platform for preventative action and early intervention and also acknowledges the Council's contribution as a social housing provider with nearly 2500 housing units. The Strategy - just one of a raft of Council measures to tackle homelessness and associated issues - aims to improve the quality of life for homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless by increasing accessibility to services.

It also aims to help address community concerns about the safety of areas that homeless people frequent. "I want to assure people that unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated and the strategy recognises both aspects of the Council's role - responding to anti-social behaviour but also treating the city's residents with both compassion and respect," says Mayor Prendergast.

The key principles of the Strategy are:

* Improving the quality of life of homeless people in a compassionate and sustainable manner.

* Promoting effective collaboration and partnership.

* Being responsive to the changing characteristics and circumstances of homeless people.

* Respecting and upholding the rights of all Wellington residents to safety and wellbeing.

Mayor Prendergast says the Council is well aware of community concern about the anti-social and disruptive behaviour of some homeless people in the central city. The Council has housed many of these people and is actively working with the city's social agencies to obtain support and assistance for them.

"We know that no one approach works in isolation - we need to employ a variety of methods and actively draw the agencies together to take a co-ordinated approach so we can make a real difference."

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