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Charity launches collaborative homeless programme

For Immediate Release
11 April 2008

Local charity launches collaborative programme to work towards turning homeless people’s lives around

Auckland-based charity LIFEWISE, formerly Methodist Mission Northern, known for its work with the homeless community, has just launched a groundbreaking new service delivery model at its city shelter which is based on working in collaboration with other related service providers.

For the first time in New Zealand LIFEWISE is implementing a service that extends beyond the traditional charitable model to encompass prevention and transitional support for homeless clients as well as meeting their immediate needs. The success of the new model relies on working collaboratively with a range of service providers (both government and non-government) that will provide specialist expertise to complement its own.

Bringing a range of support services to the individual, rather than relying on people to access those services themselves, will help to create an integrated pathway through which homeless people can develop the necessary life skills and personal capabilities to be able to move onwards with their lives.

As part of the first phase of the roll-out of the initiative, called the ‘Pathways out of Homelessness Programme’ (Pathways Programme), LIFEWISE has formalised partnerships with Community Alcohol & Drugs Services, Te Atea Marino, Taylor Centre and Odyssey House, who have each committed to providing skilled consultants to assist homeless clients on site at the centre on a regular basis.

LIFEWISE has also recruited full-time support staff with experience in mental health and social services who will work with individuals at the Centre to determine their needs, set goals, and address the issues that prevent them from successfully maintaining housing and integrating back into the community.

Community Services General Manager at LIFEWISE, John McCarthy, says the organisation carried out an extensive review of service provision for homeless and marginalised people in Auckland before developing its new service delivery model. The framework is based on current best practice while also going a step further and addressing the underlying issues surrounding homelessness.

“It has always been LIFEWISE’s priority to break the cycles of dependency. 157 years of experience working with homeless people, children, families and older people has shown us that simply meeting their immediate needs can perpetuate dependency rather than providing a sustainable solution.

“Our new approach addresses many of the key concerns highlighted in Auckland City Council’s research on homelessness, including the need for a more co-ordinated and systematic approach to the issue.

The enthusiasm by which both government bodies and NFP social support agencies have responded to the Pathways Programme, as well as the securing of the initial partner organisations, illustrates just how significant this development is in terms of establishing a robust shared framework and philosophy around Homelessness,” he adds.

The Pathways Programme at the LIFEWISE Centre will fall into broad categories such as health and wellness, life skills, social service advocacy and support, and ultimately job training and employment support. The aim is to ensure people are housed in the community and equipped to stay there.

The LIFEWISE Centre will remain the lead provider of primary services for homeless people in the city and there will be no change to any of its current services such as daily meals, health checks, clothing donations and washroom facilities.

For further information or an interview about this groundbreaking new service for homeless people please contact Rosalie Bridge on 021 736 432 / 09 522 1923, or Lesley Mynett-Johnson on 09 302 5392. Please also see the additional news release below.


ADDITIONAL NEWS

New face revealed by one of Auckland’s oldest charities

Methodist Mission Northern has also just celebrated another momentous event in its 157 year history after unveiling a whole new identity to a captive audience of politicians, local government representatives, councillors, business people, and stakeholders at the Town Hall last night.

The Methodist Mission, which has a long history of providing support for homeless people, children, families and older people in need, will now be known as LIFEWISE.

Executive Director of LIFEWISE, John Murray, says the launch of a totally new face for its social and community services is a significant event for the organisation as there have only been a few minor changes to its name since it was founded in 1851.

“The organisation has changed considerably over the years. As growing numbers of New Zealanders struggle to live healthy and productive lives, we have continually adapted our services to meet needs while also addressing underlying issues around dependency and developing sustainable solutions. We have outgrown the name Methodist Mission Northern; it no longer communicates the true nature of our work.”

LIFEWISE is committed to transforming the lives of people in need through social investment.

“Our vision is to turn people’s lives around by providing practical tools, support and encouragement that enable people to create their own goals and focus on the particular challenges each faces in their life,” adds John Murray.

“Building strong communities should be important to all New Zealanders, as healthy communities lead to a more desirable, healthy future for everyone. All Kiwis can help achieve this by passing on life skills to their families and improving the lives of those who are less fortunate whenever they have the opportunity.”

“Raising much-needed funds for our work is always challenging because of the nature of our work. And it has become even more difficult in recent years because of the highly competitive charitable market. We need to stand out more, and a modern new identity that better encapsulates who we are, what we do, and differentiates us from other not-for-profit agencies, is one way of achieving this.”

LIFEWISE’s range of community and social services that work towards turning people’s lives around include:

- LIFEWISE Family Services helps build stronger, healthier families by encouraging and supporting parents through a range of services run by trained social workers, caregivers and educators. These include fostercare services, parenting programmes and specialised assistance for families facing specific problems.
- LIFEWISE Homecare offers home-based support to help people live independent lives, including house-keeping, personal care, carer relief and help with travel and shopping.
- The LIFEWISE Centre is a place for homeless and other marginalised people in the city centre that meets clients’ immediate needs for food and shelter, and also helps them rebuild their lives by providing specialist support to prepare them for independent living. The centre works in collaboration with other organizations, who deliver their services on-site, to provide long-term housing solutions, essential life skills and opportunities for reintegration into the wider community.


ENDS

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