A Step Forward in Ending Homelessnees with Housing First
Housing First Auckland City Centre a Step Forward in Ending Homelessness
11th August 2017 - Housing First Auckland City Centre programme has supported 16 people into permanent homes since it launched in March this year. Lifewise, in partnership with the Auckland City Mission, is working with mostly single rough sleepers who are known to their services and who have been homeless for many years. For some, the experience of homelessness began in their youth.
“The results are really encouraging; we are experiencing how the Housing First Model can and will work to ensure homelessness becomes rare, brief and non-recurring; life-changing for so many New Zealanders,” says Lifewise CEO Moira Lawler.
The Housing First City Centre Programme is working with people experiencing chronic homelessness in Auckland’s CBD.
“Of the 16 people we have supported into permanent housing, 14 are single men, with an average age of 45 years. Many experience mental health issues, substance use and physical health challenges. On average, the people we have supported into housing so far have been homeless for about 16 years. To focus on recovery and self-sufficiency within a safe environment is a crucial first step,” says Lawler.
A unique aspect of the Housing First Programme is that once housed, participants have ongoing, personalised support, from the Housing First team, to help them sustain their tenancies, address health needs, and to achieve their goals.
According to Lawler, it’s feedback like this statement from one of the first tenants in the Housing First programme that is so important: “It’s given me confidence and stability. Since I’ve been involved with Housing First, my self-esteem’s grown. It’s because I’ve got stability.”
Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly outlines the wider importance of the Housing First Programme, “Homelessness is troubling Auckland’s conscience and has harmed our most vulnerable people. Housing First provides hope in the midst of this enduring tragedy and demands collaboration from all those who are committed to ending homelessness. Auckland City Mission and Lifewise working together is a strong example of this collaboration.”
The Housing First Auckland Collective is a two-year demonstration project to end homelessness for 472 chronically homeless people (adults) in the Auckland region using the internationally proven Housing First model. The Collective is made up of five services working across different areas of the city: Affinity Services, Lifewise together with Auckland City Mission, LinkPeople and VisionWest.