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200 homeless Wellingtonians to be housed with Housing First

The Housing First programme is launching in the Wellington region and aims to house 200 long-term homeless people and whanau over the next two years, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today.

The internationally-acclaimed programme will be provided in Wellington and Lower Hutt by Kahungunu Whanau Services and a collective led by DCM, and including Emerge Aotearoa, the Wellington Night Shelter and the Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust.

Housing First puts homeless people with multiple, high and complex needs into secure housing. It recognises it is much easier for people to address issues such as mental health problems and addiction, once they are housed.

Phil Twyford said Housing First is turning people’s lives around by housing them and then connecting them with health and social services such as mental health counselling, budgeting advice and drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

“Housing is a basic human right and allows people to live with dignity. Our Government is committed to tackling homelessness. That’s why we made it an investment priority for the second consecutive year, with $197million in this year’s Wellbeing Budget to turn around the lives of an extra 1000 long-term homeless people. This takes the number of funded Housing First places throughout the country to 2,700.

Mayor of Wellington Justin Lester welcomed the initiative and emphasised the need for more housing and critical services for the city’s most vulnerable.

“On any given night we know approximately 60-80 Wellingtonians are sleeping rough on our city’s streets. We know that homelessness is not an easy fix, but the Housing First programme allows us to provide the wrap-around support services that people need to sustain their homes. This initiative builds on Council’s commitment to public and affordable housing in the city.

“We are delighted to partner with Housing New Zealand, DCM and Kahungunu Whānau Services to help people into a permanent home,” Justin Lester said.

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