The Housing First Programme
The Housing First programme recognises that it is much easier to address complex needs, such as mental health and addiction, once people are housed. Previous models stipulated that people should be sober, or mentally well, in order to be “housing ready”.
We know that some landlords and housing providers in still have these requirements. Housing First sees the need for permanent, secure, appropriate, safe housing as a fundamental human right and people experiencing homelessness need housing provided quickly, with client-led tailored support for as long as necessary.
The Housing First model grew out of the work of Dr. Sam Tsemberis, a clinical community psychologist on the faculty of Columbia University Medical Center’s psychiatry department. In 2017 the Housing First Auckland Collective hosted Dr. Sam Tsemberis to deliver training to kai mahi and frontline staff across the collective to support the model’s integrity and deepen the understanding of the programme in Aotearoa.
Optimising outcomes for Māori
Housing First is recognised internationally as the leading evidence-based programme designed to end homelessness. However, success rates in Canada have varied significantly between indigenous and non-indigenous populations.
It was clear that for Housing First to work optimally in Aotearoa there would need to be a degree of reinterpretation to ensure it aligned with the principles of Te Ao Māori and worked for Māori. Housing First Auckland established a Kaupapa Māori group that led the creation and implementation of the kaupapa Māori framework Tāiki to support kai mahi.
Tāiki is a kaupapa Māori framework developed by the Housing First Auckland (HFA) kaupapa Māori group, which includes tangata Māori from each of the provider organisations and is supported by the collective backbone team. The Tāiki framework is illustrated with the kōkiri (spearhead). A traditional formation used in military encounters, the kōkiri reflects a position of strength by taking a cohesive and unified approach. The word Tāiki is commonly heard in formal oratory occasions. It is used to signal the group is united and ready to progress the purpose of coming together.
A Māori-centric approach is at the point of the kōkiri shape and positions the importance of viewing the framework through a Māori worldview.
The interrelationship between Tāiki and Housing First in Aotearoa
Tāiki enhances and enriches the delivery of Housing First in Aotearoa. Using Tāiki alongside Housing First maintains integrity to the model and ensures that it is delivered in a way that works for Māori. Underpinning this is the philosophy that housing is a fundamental human right.