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The recent Cross-Party Inquiry Into Homelessness encouraged people who have experienced homelessness to come forward and share their views. These valuable inputs are crucial for finding solutions that work. That is why people with lived experience are key members of the solutions-focused, collaborative, Housing First project.

With this in mind, we encourage Minister Paula Bennett and others to engage in discussions about the recommendations of the cross-party inquiry. We need a collaborative approach to end homelessness, for good.

On October 10, the final report of the Cross-Party Inquiry was released. The report found that the level of homelessness in New Zealand is at a record high and is continuing to grow. In Auckland, due to the housing crisis, families forced to live on the streets, in cars, and in garages.

The report recommends that a national strategy to end homelessness is the next step. Priorities include provision of more long-term housing and implementation of Housing First.

This recommendation comes on the basis of 482 written submissions made by a myriad of people and organisations from around the country. One of the key recommendations was that the Government should adopt Housing First as its primary way of working with the homeless – something which Lifewise has been promoting for some time.

Lifewise agrees with the findings that it’s time to model the costs and benefits of implementing Housing First nationwide. We need to stop dabbling and get serious.

As the inquiry stated “The Housing First programme in Canada cost around CA$15,000 per person or NZ$15,800 and 96% of the cost of that the Government got back in reduced costs such as fewer hospitalisations and reduced medical costs.”

The recent investments by the current government have made some traction in the state of homelessness in New Zealand. The development of a cross-party agreement on effective responses to homelessness is an essential next step to ensure a coordinated response. That’s what New Zealanders are calling for.