We are making great progress!
The Housing First Auckland City Centre programme has supported 16 people into permanent homes since it launched in March this year. Not a boarding house, not a motel room. We mean a permanent home, plus the wraparound support they want so they can achieve their goals.
Lifewise, in partnership with the Auckland City Mission, is working with mostly individual rough sleepers who are known to their services and who have been homeless for many years.
For some, the experience of homelessness began in their youth. That is why this statement from one of our first tenants in the Housing First programme is so important:
“It’s given me confidence and stability. My self-esteem’s grown since I’ve been with Lifewise. It’s because I’ve got stability.”
Lifewise CEO Moira Lawler says, “The results are really encouraging; we are experiencing how the Housing First Model can and will work to ensure homelessness becomes rare, brief and non-recurring; life-changing for so many New Zealanders.”
Of the 16 people we have supported into permanent housing, 14 are single men, with an average age of 45 years. Many experience mental health issues, substance use and physical health challenges. On average, the people we have supported into a home so far have been homeless for about 16 years. “The focus on recovery and self-sufficiency within a safe environment is a crucial first step,” says Lawler.
A unique aspect of this programme is that once housed, participants have ongoing, personalised support, from the Housing First team, to help them sustain their tenancies, address health needs, and to achieve their goals.
Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly outlines the wider importance of the Housing First Programme, “Homelessness is troubling Auckland’s conscience and has harmed our most vulnerable people. Housing First provides hope in the midst of this enduring tragedy and demands collaboration from all those who are committed to ending homelessness. Auckland City Mission and Lifewise working together is a strong example of this collaboration.”
Why does this approach work so well in solving chronic homelessness? Watch Rob Smith explain – he is one of our Peer support workers in the Housing First Team.
The Housing First Auckland Collective is a two-year demonstration project to end homelessness for 472 chronically homeless adults in Auckland using the internationally proven Housing First model. The Collective is made up of five services working across different areas of the city: Kāhui Tū Kaha (formerly Affinity Services), Lifewise together with Auckland City Mission, LinkPeople and VisionWest.