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Methodist Mission To Lead Australian Mission

One of New Zealand’s oldest charitable trusts leads mission across the Tasman to gain insight for addressing the growing issue of ‘homelessness’ in this country

Methodist Mission Northern, a charity that has a long history of providing support for people who are affected by the many facets of poverty, is calling for collaboration among not-for-profit agencies, councils, corporate organisations and politicians to address the growing issue of ‘homelessness’ in New Zealand.

As part of its vision for the future, Methodist Mission Northern continues to be more than a social charity by not only meeting people at their point of need, but also by enhancing its capabilities to conduct social research and to critique and shape social policy.

After hearing about an innovative approach taken by the Brisbane City Council to implement a strategic plan for homeless people in their wider region, Methodist Mission Northern initiated a trip across the Tasman with Auckland City Council representatives to learn from the Australians’ experiences and bring back some valuable insights.

Project instigator Keith Taylor, who is Methodist Mission Northern’s Superintendent, says research in Adelaide, Brisbane and other Australian cities has shown that a law and order approach is not the answer, as it does not resolve the issues but can in fact create even deeper ones.

“Homeless people’s issues must be addressed with empathy and understanding. With the escalating number of homeless people in New Zealand, particularly Auckland, it is clear that significant public education and community commitment is required not only from service providers such as our Mission, but also from councils, corporate organisations and central government to collectively develop a strategy to deal with the underlying causes of homelessness and reach a positive outcome,” he says.

The perception of a homeless person as being an older male is no longer accurate. Trends on both sides of the Tasman indicate an increasing number of young people are taking to the streets.

While in Australia, Methodist Mission Northern and the Auckland City representatives will look at the Brisbane council’s overall strategy, which involved collaborating with the State and Federal Government and the not-for-profit sector to create innovative solutions to homelessness, and assess whether similar strategies can be developed for New Zealand.

“I’m thrilled that members of the Auckland City Council are accompanying me on this trip, as it reaffirms their commitment to helping address the complex issues surrounding homeless people in our country,” says Mr Taylor.

The delegation has also been joined by representatives from the Anglican City Mission.

For many years Methodist Mission Northern has provided a range of social support services for the people of Auckland through its Airedale Community Centre. The core work of the centre involves meeting the basic day-to-day needs of increasing number of homeless people in the city, including offering three good meals a day, access to showers, clothes, health advice, general support and a place of sanctuary.

The central city service provides an ideal environment for the Mission to review people’s needs, evaluate possible solutions and develop comprehensive outreach and wrap around services which best address issues within Auckland’s homeless community.

ENDS

About Methodist Mission Northern

Established more than 150 years ago, Methodist Mission Northern addresses social injustices and provides practical support and advocacy for the elderly, the homeless, women and children in the Northern region of the North Island to make sure that each person’s basic needs are being met. Their approach is based on working alongside people without judgement and for however long they are needed.

Services include:

Community care for older people

Foster care for children

Critical support services for homeless people

Safe places for women and children

Support programs for families

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