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More housing support for vulnerable youth

Paula Bennett

2 AUGUST, 2015

More housing support for vulnerable youth

Vulnerable young people needing a supportive and stable living environment will benefit from a new accommodation service, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

Supported Accommodation for Youth will see up to 21 young people aged 16-19, who are on the social housing register, housed for as long as they need it.

“I’m thrilled to launch this initiative, because it will make a genuine difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable young New Zealanders,” says Mrs Bennett.

The service started in Palmerston North and Christchurch at the beginning of July with two young people already placed in the service in Christchurch and referrals underway in Palmerston North. Auckland’s service will commence in early August. Nationwide, the service costs around $125,000 per year.

Delivered by community providers, the service also provides young people with a range of support from learning basic living skills to helping them access other support in the community, such as Youth Service.

“The Government knows that vulnerable young people can have a particularly complex set of needs and are more likely to become dependent on the State over a longer period of time,” Mrs Bennett says.

“We have always been more ambitious for our youth. Ensuring they have a roof over their heads means we can more effectively dig in and ensure they’re getting access to education, employment, and we are supporting them back to independence.

“The combination of a stable, safe living environment gives these young people a better opportunity to become self-sufficient. They will be living with others their own age in properties ranging from two to five bedrooms with ready access to adult support.”

The community providers are Presbyterian Support Upper South Island in Christchurch for up to 8 youths, Te Aroha Noa Community Services in Palmerston North for up to 5 youths and Affinity Services Limited in Auckland for up to 8 youths. These organisations will provide alternative housing in 2 to 5-bedroom properties to house youths referred from the social housing register.

This includes accommodation suitable for teen parents, particularly mums and their child. As either specialist social services providers or health service providers, the organisations will mentor these young people and connect them to other support.

The service will help improve the lives of nearly a quarter of the 82 young people on the register at the end of June who will have access to social workers and psychologists if required.

Supported Accommodation for Youth is a part of the Government’s Social Housing Reform Programme, which is increasing the supply of social housing and better supporting vulnerable New Zealanders in housing that suits their needs.

More information about the Social Housing Reform Programme can be found at: http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/work-programmes/social-housing/index.html


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