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Recently, Lifewise CEO Moira Lawler was featured in the Community Housing Aotearoa newsletter. She is a proud member of their Council and had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with their team. The resulting article shares Moira’s experiences with Lifewise and on the Council.

This interview first appeared in the Community Housing Aotearoa newsletter dated 16 April 2018.

What’s your best work story?
Recently our team had lunch based on a social enterprise, that is being tested by someone with lived experience of homelessness, who is delivering lunches to our office. We have stories like that every day of people who are creating new ideas and participating in the work that we do.

What’s your career highlight?
I think being at the forefront of the demonstration work in New Zealand around Housing First is definitely a highlight. Being able to bring experts who can talk about the evidence base to New Zealand, working in partnership with the City Mission to house our most vulnerable homeless people, it is a huge highlight.  Every day we are reminded how challenging, but also how hugely rewarding it is, so it is a highlight.

Why did you want to be on our Council?
I think there is a huge opportunity in New Zealand to try different models of community owned and developed housing. A range of options will be needed to meet the really diverse needs of New Zealanders. I’m a passionate believer in locally grown solutions and I think CHA Council holds the space for the sector and increases our influence with government and helps the sector build partnerships.

What’s the best thing about working in the community housing sector?
I think it is a great mix of visionaries and really creative and inspired leaders but also people who are really practical and pragmatic and willing to get involved hands-on. Housing is such an interesting space you have to hold the vision but you also have to understand some of the technical and financial details about how it actually works. And so, the people who are passionate about social housing are very interesting people.

What do you do to relax?
I swim, particularly I ocean swim. One of my great sorrows is the current state of the ocean environment around Auckland, so I am busy lobbying council at the moment to fund improvements to Auckland’s infrastructure.