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Government investment endorses community housing approach

4 May 2018

Government investment endorses community housing sector approach - CHA

Community Housing Aotearoa is welcoming the Government’s continued commitment to an approach which puts permanent housing at the centre of curbing chronic homelessness.

CEO Scott Figenshow says the investment is also recognition that the community housing leaders have been on the right track, with the sector leading the charge with the Housing First approach.

“We know it works and the sector has been committed to this approach – once you fix housing you can fix an array of other social issues. At the centre of any strong healthy community is quality and healthy homes.”

His comments follow the Government’s announcement today that it will be investing $64 million over four years in the Housing First initiatives. The approach will see people moving into independent and permanent housing and also provides additional support and services to address the issues that contribute to homelessness.

Housing First Auckland collective project leader Julie Nelson says it is pleasing to have CHA’s support as the collective is working toward a nationwide community of practice that ensures quality and consistency of outcomes for our most vulnerable.

“The real win today is the recognition of the homeless voice and the investment to lift spirits and lives, provide housing and the promise to end homelessness.”

Scott Figenshow says today’s announcement is significant as it shows successive governments have invested in an initiative that is led by community housing sector providers.

“Our sector introduced government to the Housing First approach through Dr Sam Tsemberis at the 2015 CHA IMPACT Conference. Today’s announcement shows a commitment over the next four years to continue with the Hamilton, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Tauranga Housing First initiatives and expanding integrated housing and services to other centres.”

“The sector should be taking a bow and CHA is proud to acknowledge the immense effort from a growing group of sector leaders who have come together as the Housing First Community of Practice. This is a fantastic example of collaborative governance and it is rewarding to see Government willing to invest in that approach.

“Going forward, it will be important that we fully integrate kaupapa Maori and Pacifica approaches to addressing homelessness. Emergency Housing providers are equally committed to seeing great outcomes through permanent affordable housing placements, and we look forward to supporting multiple successful approaches.”

He says local government has also been instrumental in the success of the Housing First initiative, while private landlords and Housing NZ have also provided a high number of permanent houses.

“The sector is extremely grateful to be able to work alongside these landlords as they provide a reliable way to meet a range of diverse tenant needs.”

Scott Figenshow says while the announcement is good news, it is important the Government stays focused on a long term plan.

“More needs to be done to address the affordable housing crisis – we would like to see this investment sit alongside a long-term sustainable support for assisted rental and progressive home ownership. We will truly get ahead of our housing crisis when we bring all of our respective capacity to the table and row our waka together.”

ENDS

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