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Working together for homelessness prevention

Downtown Community Ministry

14 June 2006

Working together for homelessness prevention

Chilly Christchurch will get some Wellington warmth when it is visited by three Downtown Community Ministry staff today.

Director Stephanie McIntyre will be joined by Community Social Worker Dougal Spier and Community Outreach Worker Alan Norman and together they will they will meet up with some agencies who are part of the Homelessness Task Group set up in partnership with Christchurch City Council.

Christchurch City Missioner Michael Gorman will host part of their visit to the City Mission and its services focussed on homelessness.

Of particular interest is the Mission’s night shelter and the innovative strategies being employed there to accommodate intoxicated people and provide offer other services on site such as health and advisory services and meals.

Ms McIntyre, who is on Wellington’s Night Shelter Trust Board, suggests the practises being employed in Christchurch may give insights into how the new look Night Shelter in Wellington is run after the major refit is completed.

DCM’s delegation will then meet Christchurch City Council’s Community Project Manager Anna Thorpe who will provide information about the Council’s involvement in addressing homelessness in the city.

DCM enjoys a close working relationship with Wellington City Council’s City Community Services and City Housing Managers and is therefore interested in how other centres around New Zealand coordinate council and non government services.

One point of similarity is the creation of ‘No Fixed Abode’ by Christchurch City Council’s Community Development Team. It serves, like DCM’s ‘Survival Guide’, as a directory of accommodation and services for people without safe, secure and affordable housing.

Ideally, the visit will be one of information sharing and the exchange of ideas about how to work together in homelessness prevention strategies.

“It will help provide us with information about the size and scale of homelessness in Christchurch, leading us to a wider perspective about the context of homelessness in New Zealand,” says Director Stephanie McIntyre.

Later this year, DCM hopes to make a similar trip to Auckland, it is likely to coincide with a national seminar on homelessness being organised by the Auckland City Council.


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