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Kāinga Pūmanawa provides new hope for Whangarei’s homeless

Three community services have united to support the chronically homeless in Whangarei.

Today [Friday 23 August], Kāhui Tū Kaha, One Double Five Community House and Ngati Hine Health Trust collectively launched Kāinga Pūmanawa to deliver the Government’s Housing First programme to Whangarei.

Whangarei is facing a housing crisis with hundreds of families waiting to get into state housing and many more living rough in bushes, cars, tents and under bridges throughout the city.

Kāinga Pūmanawa spokesperson Liz Cassidy-Nelson says: “Our priority is two-fold; to help people who are chronically homeless swiftly secure permanent housing, then provide immediate wrap-around support services to address the issues that led to their homelessness.”

Housing First is an evidence-based approach that recognises it is easier for people to address issues, such as mental health problems and addiction, once they are housed.

In clinical trials carried out around the world, the results consistently confirm that 80 per cent of people who receive Housing First services retain their housing and do not return to homelessness.

Kāinga Pūmanawa is connecting with key stakeholders and people who have experienced homelessness to co-design and establish Whangarei’s Housing First response, while also working with local landlords and real estate agencies to broaden the pool of available housing.

“The immediate need is housing but, more importantly, supporting whānau in transforming these houses into their own kāinga [home].

“We are applying kaupapa Māori framework and whānau ora principles to enhance the sound and proven Housing First model for our Whangarei whānau,” says Cassidy-Nelson.

Kāinga Pūmanawa recognises that homelessness will only end if the Government, iwi, community organisations, and the community – including those who are homeless – are working together.

“We want to see more services sharing more information, reallocating resources to places where they will be most effective in helping people, while ensuring Housing First is a guiding principle across all agencies,” says Cassidy-Nelson.

Kāinga Pūmanawa is contracted to house and provide intensive support to 40 chronically homeless people per year. The first person has been housed and a number of others are in the process of gaining their kāinga.

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