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Housing not just about providing a roof

Housing not just about providing a roof

8 February 2017

Lifewise supports the findings of the Salvation Army’s annual report, particularly its Auckland findings – housing has become harder to find and less affordable.

The PM’s announcement in this week’s speech – “the government will this year build and fund additional social and emergency housing places” – suggests that the government is still hoping a piecemeal approach will be enough.

We acknowledge that the PM also said that housing will be a key focus for the Government this year, and work will continue to increase the supply of land for housing. While Lifewise believes government support here is welcome, we need a comprehensive approach to increasing housing supply, affordability and quality, not short-term fixes.

Meanwhile, time is running out for our youth and children – combined with child poverty and the lack of housing supply is also the unaffordability of rent, particularly in the Auckland area. More emergency housing will not solve these issues.

Over the last three years many different approaches have been tried by government. NGOs have also been working in this space for a long time. It’s time to do more of what works to support people and families in crisis and then fix our eye on prevention.

We acknowledge that the government has begun showing support for more long-term solutions, such as Housing First initiatives across Auckland – Lifewise and Auckland City Mission are among the preferred providers of Housing First services. These include supporting people who experience homelessness into permanent homes and providing the wraparound support they need to sustain their tenancy.

We look forward to increased and ongoing support for Housing First – an evidence-based model that has a proven track record in ending homelessness, as opposed to managing it.

We also look forward to some serious policy debate about the best way to get New Zealand’s housing supply back on track.

- Ends –

Lifewise – editor’s note

Lifewise are an Auckland-based community social development organisation, who develop new ways to solve challenging social issues, and work with families, older people, people with disabilities, and people at risk of homelessness to turn people’s lives around. Lifewise’s roots trace back to over 150 years ago within the Methodist Church of New Zealand, and the organisation has since changed and developed to meet the needs of Aucklanders as the city grows.

Focusing on the principle of interdependence rather than independence or dependence, Lifewise are recognised for their work providing sustainable solutions to social issues, rather than focusing on simply meeting immediate needs, in an attempt to address the root causes of social isolation and disadvantage. Lifewise offer services and support for individuals and families to imagine a better future and build their capacity to achieve that vision.

In order to make a tangible, long-term difference to issues surrounding homelessness, Lifewise works to an internationally acknowledged ‘housing first’ model, and is working to influence homelessness intervention practice at a national level.

They also run Lifewise Merge Café, located on Karangahape Road, providing affordable, nutritious food for everyone. Merge Café encourages people from all walks of life to share food and conversation, and all proceeds raised go towards supporting people who need housing support. The café acts as a one-stop-shop, enabling people in need to access Lifewise’s staff and services, and providing a safe environment that embraces choice, dignity and respect.

Lifewise aim to be a ‘go-to’ organisation, through which media can access accurate, balanced and constructive commentary on issues including:

- Parenting support

- Good outcomes for children in care

- Support for families under stress

- Quality early childhood education

- Neighbourhood and community development

- Mental health and addiction support

- Older persons’ care

- Services for people with disabilities

- Ending homelessness

Find out more at www.lifewise.org.nz

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