Publish Date:

13 March 2019

The Government’s announcement to increase its investment in Housing First services across New Zealand is positive news for the additional 1,044 people and families who will benefit from the funding.

Speaking on behalf of the Auckland Housing First collective (Auckland City Mission together with Lifewise, Kāhui Tū Kaha, LinkPeople and VisionWest), programme lead Fiona Hamilton said that while specific details of the investment and how it will be distributed in Auckland were still to come – the announcement signalled the Government’s commitment to Housing First, permanent housing outcomes and ending homelessness.

“Housing First is not the only homelessness programme in New Zealand – and our transitional and emergency housing partners also play an important role in the housing continuum. However, as part of a systems approach, Housing First is one of the best for people who are chronically homeless, that is people who have experienced long-term homelessness, been sleeping rough on the street or in cars and who also have multiple and complex mental and or physical health issues. It is proven to significantly reduce and end homelessness,” Ms Hamilton said.

Formed in March 2017, the Auckland collective’s two-year KPI was to support 472 primary adult participants from homelessness into permanent homes. At 31 March 2019, it had supported 512 adult participants and 452 children – meaning there was a total of 964 people in the programme.

“In Auckland over the past two years we have seen great outcomes, with a high number of people maintaining their tenancies and improving their wellbeing. Without the stability of a home, people can’t address challenges in their lives. And many of the people coming into Housing First have not received the support they need,” Ms Hamilton said.

Ms Hamilton said the Auckland collective was also hopeful Government would consider a national homelessness strategy to ensure all future policy, investment and resourcing was taking a whole-of-systems approach, supporting providers to work together and to their strengths in a coordinated way for the most effective response to homelessness.

“Homelessness is an incredibly complex issue – and no single organisation or programme can solve it working alone. The development of a national strategy supports not only this investment, but continued investment to end homelessness so that it becomes rare, brief and non-recurring.”

Hamilton said Housing First is a no-exit programme – and the journey for people was often long and not without its challenges.

“We need to stay with people over the long term, and we are delighted that this funding recognises the ongoing investment required to continue housing and walking alongside the people we’re currently working with, while also meeting the needs of many others who are currently without homes or support.

“Providers in the Auckland collective want to do more – and we are confident we have the capacity and capability to provide much needed support to end homelessness for more people in Auckland.”

The Housing First Auckland collective publishes its results on its website.

Read the full announcement on the Beehive website.