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Auckland City to take leadership role

11 May 2005

Auckland City to take leadership role with the homeless

New research suggests Auckland City Council can play a pivotal role in coordinating work with the homeless.

A Plan for Homeless and Marginalised Populations was presented to the council’s Community Development and Equity Committee today.

The study, commissioned by council, was carried out by Auckland research company Gravitas and examined the services available to the city’s homeless people.

It surveyed agencies dealing with the homeless and conducted in-depth interviews with 10 key service providers.

The report says the basic and immediate needs of the homeless are well met, but suggests that Auckland City can take a leadership role working with this group.

It recommends the council:

- develop a homeless policy
- dedicate staff resources to work in the area of homelessness
- support and strengthen existing service providers working with the homeless
- facilitate and co-ordinate partnerships to help the homeless.

“This is extremely important research and Auckland City is dedicated to assisting homeless and marginalised populations,” says Councillor Cathy Casey, the chairperson of theAuckland City Council’s Community Development and Equity Committee, Councillor Cathy Casey.

“This study will help the council to develop a policy on homeless people, so that it can take a leadership role in this area and ensure that the needs of homeless people in Auckland are addressed.

“Auckland City has already demonstrated its commitment to homeless people and is hosting a national Rough Sleepers Forum next month.

“This will enable those working with the rough sleeping homeless people to share ideas and develop partnerships,” says Dr Casey.

The report highlights four key gaps in services for homeless people in Auckland. These include:
- a shortage of emergency accommodation, especially for women and families.
- a lack of 24-hour support services for homeless people
- a shortage of supported housing to help people move-out of a homeless situation
- a lack of case management to cater for the specific needs of homeless individuals.

“Homelessness is a complex and difficult issue and there is no easy solution.

“But with this research we have identified areas to focus on and the council plans to work with service providers to advocate for solutions that will see gaps addressed,” Dr Casey says.

The research did not consult with homeless people directly, however councillors will canvass their views at a shared lunch at the Methodist Mission Northern on 20 June.

The council has proposed spending $135,000 over the next three years to implement a Homeless Action Plan. This funding is subject to public consultation as part of the Draft Annual Plan process, which runs from 20 April to 20 May.

ENDS

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