Homelessness is a complex issue that no single organisation has the ability to solve

We are a collective of five organisations working together using the Housing First approach to end chronic homelessness in Auckland.

The strength of our collective is its multi-agency approach to provide ongoing and sustained wrap-around support services to help people stay in their homes and never return to homelessness.

We work with people who are chronically homeless in the Auckland City Centre, and Central, West and South Auckland. We find them homes and then continue to work them to support them to keep their tenancies.


Meet our Housing First services

Kāhui Tū Kaha

Me akiaki i te mana o ngā tāngata i te rohe o Ngāti Whātua.

We are a Ngāti Whātua organisation, characterised by diversity and committed to achieving meaningful health and social outcomes for everyone.

Our new Housing First service will assist people experiencing chronic homelessness in Central and West Auckland.

Lifewise together with Auckland City Mission

The Auckland City Centre Housing First Programme is a partnership between Auckland City Mission and Lifewise for people experiencing chronic homelessness in the Auckland city centre. Our two organisations are drawn together by common values and a shared commitment to end homelessness. Together, we have more than 100 years’ experience working with people experiencing homelessness and hardship living in central Auckland.

We understand that in order to be effective this must be a collective endeavour. Our programme has a strong kaupapa Māori approach and includes the voice of Tangata Whenua and the “rough sleeper” community.

We work alongside our partners from Auckland Council, Ministry of Social Development, Housing New Zealand, DHBs, Iwi and other NGOs. Airedale Property Trust has partnered with us to locate and lease the housing and provide tenancy management and support.


At LinkPeople we believe everyone has a right to a healthy home. We’re committed to helping people in South Auckland to find and keep homes by providing housing first, followed by wrap-around support to sustain a successful tenancy.

We work closely with the people who use our services, meeting regularly to support them to be good tenants, good neighbours and contributing members of the community. As their needs and circumstances change over time, we’ll work with them to make sure they always have a place to call home.

Partnerships across agencies are fundamental to the success of our Housing First approach. We work with Housing New Zealand Corporation, private landlords, and NGO and DHB social and health services to support the people who use our services.


On average, we receive more than 130 requests for housing every month from people and families who are chronically homeless through to those who have a severe housing need, including people living in cars, the caravan park, couch surfing, in overcrowded housing, being evicted, coming out of prison and living on the street. Our West Auckland Housing First service builds on our strong track record of providing quality community housing and compassionate client care.

VisionWest’s CEO Lisa Woolley says “Housing First means we will be able to access homes for people in the places bested suited for their situation, with the right supports to help them in their tenancy and to achieve their goals”.

VisionWest has been journeying with those in need within our community for nearly 30 years. With our head office in West Auckland, branches throughout the country and a team of more than 1,400 staff and volunteers, our vision is to see Transformed Lives, Healthy Communities.

We’re supported by…

Housing First Auckland is using a Collective Impact approach to end homelessness in Auckland; by working collectively and collaboratively we will achieve social change.

An important part of this approach is ensuring the organisations in the collective are supported by a strong backbone team. This team provides infrastructure and resources for our shared model approach, and for powering up our collective efforts in a coordinated and structured way.

We get this critical support from the Wise Group. In addition to leadership from the Group’s joint CE Julie Nelson, the communication and design, project management, data system (through Wild Bamboo) and administration support we receive from the Wise Group’s shared business services allow our collective to focus on what we do best – Housing First.

We’re governed by…

Our governance team includes representatives from the organisations that make up the collective and who support us. This team provides leadership, strategic input and consultation with our networks to promote and champion Housing First Auckland and our goal of ending homelessness in Auckland.

As our collective develops we will look to grow our governance group with members from the Ministry of Social Development, Auckland Council, Housing New Zealand, Work and Income, Corrections and the New Zealand Police. We will also have strong relationships and representation from the community, including local boards and business associations.

Our governance members currently include:

Julie Nelson, Housing First Auckland Project Lead and joint Chief Executive, Wise Group

Julie is the joint chief executive of the Wise Group of entities, one of the largest non- government providers of mental health and wellbeing services in New Zealand. Julie has co-led the Group for more than 25 years, over which time it has grown from one to more than 1,000 employees.

Julie has also been instrumental in championing the adoption of the Housing First model in New Zealand and has worked on the frontline with chronically homeless people. She leads The People’s Project in Hamilton, which was established by the Wise Group to end chronic homelessness in Hamilton by 2016. The People’s Project is the first large-scale, researched pilot of Housing First in New Zealand.

Julie’s knowledge of community housing is in-depth. She has spent time in other countries reviewing various community housing models and was the co-chair of the Council of Community Housing Aotearoa.

Barbara Browne, Chief Executive, Kāhui Tū Kaha (previously Affinity Services)

Barbara has been the CEO of Kāhui Tū Kaha for six years. She has a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hon) and a history as a Registered Nurse, health sector funder and senior government manager. 

Chris Farrelly, CEO/City Missioner, Auckland City Mission

Chris has been the CEO/City Missioner at the Auckland City Mission since 1 June 2016. Chris has responsibility for managing the Mission’s extensive range of health and social services, which work to improve outcomes for Aucklanders living in desperate need. Advocating for the rights of clients and for social change is also an important part of his role.

Chris has a long history in health management, and prior to coming to the Auckland City Mission Chris had been CEO of Manaia Health PHO in Northland for 13 years. Chris also spent 10 years working with a community development programme in a South Korean Slum.  

The Auckland City Mission is working with Lifewise to provide the first Housing First programme in the Auckland city centre. A number of the Mission’s other social services, such as our low-cost health centre and addiction services, are involved with the Housing First programme through the provision of wrap-around services.

Jo Denvir, Chief Executive, Lifewise

Jo Denvir joined Lifewise as the CE on 14 April 2020. She is an experienced and committed Chief Executive in leading non-profit organisations, with a deep connection to the Mahi of Lifewise. Jo’s background includes six years leading Lifeline Aotearoa and while there, turning it into a national organisation that better suits its ability to carry out its critical work of saving lives. Jo also has experience in property — both social housing as well as commercial property — and has managed and advised regional housing projects in Australia.

Fiona Hamilton, Chief Executive, LinkPeople

Fiona has almost 20 years’ experience in research, programme management and leadership across a range of sectors including the Waitangi Tribunal claim process, mental health workforce development and Housing First.

Her previous experience has seen her work closely and collaboratively with mana whenua, local government and Ministries and departments such as Housing, Social Development, Health and Justice.

Lisa Woolley, Chief Executive, VisionWest

Lisa is the CEO of VisionWest Community Trust, one of New Zealand’s largest community services providers. The Trust is well known for its innovative and holistic approach, encompassing a wide range of services to more than 20,000 people in the community every year, through its more than 1,500 employees and 100 volunteers.  

Lisa is as an expert in social issues and a champion for social justice within New Zealand. With more than 20 years’ experience as an advocate, volunteer, policy advisor, commentator, manager and CEO, she is passionate about community development and addressing social issues such as poverty, marginalisation, unemployment and homelessness. Her Master’s thesis on Supportive Housing can be viewed on VisionWest’s website.

Lisa joined VisionWest in 1998 and was appointed CEO in 2001. She has led the organisation to unparalleled growth and impact on the local community, which has been recognised through several accolades including an award for Leadership from the Australian and New Zealand Association of Social Housing Providers.