Building the capacity of people with lived experience of homelessness.
In 2016, four people with lived experience of homelessness worked with Lifewise to co-design and begin the groundbreaking Housing First programme. Through the co-design process, we drew in large numbers of the street community who had their voice heard in a meaningful way and wanted to become more involved.
Building on that energy and enthusiasm, Lifewise provided peer support training for 14 people with lived experience of homelessness.
Of the group of 14 who trained in peer support:
We have now started implementing the Housing First programme in the city centre. This programme provides permanent housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness along with wraparound support. As of June 2017, 16 people have been permanently housed through this programme. The average length of time this group has been homeless is 16 years.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISE WORK
The Housing First co-design process identified the need for the involvement of people with lived experience. This process also identified the vital need for community support and casework support to ensure people’s well-being.
Volunteers who have experienced long term rough sleeping in Auckland’s city centre derive determination, drive, passion and confidence from this work.
They form the Merge Community Peer Support Team, based from Merge Café (Lifewise’s social enterprise that provides 20,000 low-cost meals a year and a vibrant safe place for the whole community to connect).
The Merge Community Peer Support Team provides guidance and advocacy to people in the homeless community through the Café. The team also support the Housing First programme with community-led development. They are working to develop alternative pathways and innovative solutions.
Our approach has proven to be effective because it:
Inside The Cup
As part of the review of the Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw, Auckland Council were eager to understand the perspective of those who beg in the city centre.
For this reason, Auckland Council partnered with Lifewise and people with lived experience of the street to bring the voice of the street to decision makers. We used a co-design process to better understand the experiences of people who hustle in the city centre. Co-design is a person-centred process that acknowledges that people are the experts of their own lives.
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