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Broadening the Definition of Homelessness

Broadening the Definition of Homelessness

4 July 2013

DCM commends the Lifewise Big Sleepout taking place in Auckland today. This annual event is a creative way to raise funds while also focussing New Zealanders’ attention on the issue of homelessness.

As community leaders, politicians and celebrities become ‘rough sleepers’ for one night in Auckland’s CBD, we at DCM think about those who are experiencing rough sleeping/living in cars in Wellington – we know that there were 44 of them during the March quarter.

But that figure only represents what we describe as “the severe end of the homelessness scale”.

During the same quarter, DCM recorded another 145 people who experienced homelessness in other settings - 43 people in Wellington’s Night Shelter, 30 in homeless hostels, 37 in boarding houses, 63 people who were couch surfing, and 7 others in rehab.

All of these people represent the hidden face of homelessness in our city.

DCM’s goal is to get people off the streets and to help others who are in unstable living arrangements. The pressure to do so is increasing, and the lack of affordable accommodation in Wellington is our biggest concern.

During the March quarter, DCM was able to assist 14 of these people to obtain a tenancy. Some were able to obtain private rentals, some Housing New Zealand tenancies, and others both fixed-term and permanent Wellington City Housing tenancies.

When we focus on the total figure of 189 experiencing homelessness across a wide spectrum of settings, it seems that we have a long way to go to end homelessness in Wellington. But broadening the definition of homelessness beyond those at the most severe and visible end of the scale is essential if we are to effectively address the issues facing a large number of vulnerable people in our city.

For more info about the work of DCM visit www.dcm.org.nzor www.facebook.com/wellingtondcm

ENDS

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