One year on and the Housing First Auckland collective has supported 227 adults into permanent homes across Auckland. The collective, which was formed in March 2017 and began reporting outcomes in May 2017, was initially tasked with using the evidence-based Housing First model to end homelessness for 472 chronically homeless adults and families in Auckland over a two-year period (2017-2019, 236 adults per year).
On Friday 4 May, the Government announced additional funding of $63.4 million to expand and sustain Housing First services across a number of New Zealand regions, which will allow the collective to work with more people in Auckland from 2018.
The collective currently includes five services working in different areas of the city: Auckland City Mission together with Lifewise (City Centre), Kāhui Tū Kaha (Central and West), LinkPeople (South) and VisionWest (West). The collective is supported with backbone services provided by Wise Management Services.
Of the 227 adults that have been housed over the past year, 111 were from West Auckland, 48 from South Auckland, 40 from the CBD, 22 from Central Auckland and six from the North Shore. More than three-quarters of the homes sourced have come from the private rental market. In many cases, these privately-owned properties have been leased to a community housing provider in the Housing First collective.
Project lead Julie Nelson said the first-year outcomes achieved by the collective are impressive and encouraging – especially for the people who now have the certainty of their own home.
“Having a stable, permanent home is just the start of the journey for so many people. Once someone is in a home, they can start thinking about and addressing, with support, the other things that are going on in their life. This is the key to Housing First – it’s about recognising that having a home is basic human right and the foundation for addressing health and wellbeing needs,” Ms Nelson said.
Ms Nelson said it is not surprising that most of the housing that has been sourced has come from the private rental market. This reflects the results of other Housing First programmes in New Zealand.
“Private landlords are an incredibly important partner for services in the collective. Housing First has a lot to offer landlords, including guaranteed rent, free tenancy management and knowing tenants really well because regular home visits is part of the programme.”
Ms Nelson said the ongoing investment announced by the Government this month signals its commitment to Housing First and ending homelessness.
“Housing First works. The Government’s announcement is recognition of the fantastic work in New Zealand by Housing First providers, including those in the Auckland collective.”
Ms Nelson said that while Housing First has been proven to be the best response for ending chronic homelessness, it works best as part of a whole-systems approach.
“Housing First is most successful when services, organisations and communities work together because there are many different forms of homelessness that require different approaches and levels of intervention.
“Housing First is a very intense intervention – it is not the one and only answer to all forms of homelessness, but it is very successful and proven to be one of the best approaches for ending chronic homelessness, where people require intensive, ongoing support for their tenancy, mental health, addiction and wellbeing. This is where our focus as a collective is directed – it is for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
Ms Nelson said a comprehensive, national strategy to end homelessness could support a systems approach.
“We need a strategy that addresses the drivers of homelessness, such as poverty, inequality, domestic violence and addictions – so that services can intervene early and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. Until we do this, we will continue to see people becoming homeless,” Ms Nelson said.
The results of the Housing First Auckland collective are available on its website each month.
Housing First Auckland – the first 12 months at a glance (1 May 2017 – 30 April 2018):
- 227 primary adults – 111 from West Auckland, 48 from South Auckland, 40 from the City Centre, 22 from Central Auckland and six from North Auckland
- 420 people in total housed – 146 single adults and 81 families which include 193 children
- 196 houses sourced through private sector landlords (not all, but many of these homes have been leased to community housing providers to manage on their behalf), 28 with Housing New Zealand and 2 other: community housing provider-owned properties.
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