Publish Date:

5 September 2019

Housing First Auckland Collective has delivered housing solutions and support to 1002 adults and children in just over two years.

The Collective (Auckland City Mission, Kāhui Tū Kaha, Lifewise, LinkPeople and VisionWest) has found houses for 536 adults and 466 children from March 2017 through to May 2019.

“That’s more than 1,000 people who may have faced Auckland’s wettest August on record unsheltered that are home and dry,” Housing First Auckland Programme Manager Fiona Hamilton said.

“Homelessness is not going to be solved overnight in the same way it didn’t develop overnight. But with collaboration, cooperation and cross-party support, it is a problem that can be solved, and our May statistics speak to that.”

The Housing First Auckland Collective was formed in 2016 when the previous government set up a two-year pilot scheme in the City Centre, Central, West and South Auckland. In 2018 the current government ramped up Housing First funding and support.

Along with housing over 1002 people, the Collective has advocated for a nationwide systems approach to ending homelessness, streamlining data best practice and creating a Kaupapa Māori approach to ensure the internationally developed model is fit for a New Zealand context.

“Housing First is there for people who our systems have not served well and who have ended up experiencing homelessness for a long period of time, often with complex issues in their lives. While our mandate is to support rough sleepers into permanent housing, ideally, no one would become homeless in the first place,” Hamilton said.

Factors that contribute to homelessness are wide-ranging and include housing supply and affordability, individual and household debt, lack of employment and employable skills, transition from state care and prison right through to intergenerational trauma, colonisation and discrimination.

“We all have a part to play in the journey to end homelessness both at an agency level and an individual level. Social and community support are vital for our homeless whānau to be successfully housed,” Hamilton said.

“This can be as simple as being a friendly neighbour who says ‘Hi!’ through to offering volunteer or paid work opportunities to former rough sleepers or influencing and educating your body corp so they welcome Housing First tenants.”