Lifewise’s Youth Housing service provides safe housing and support for youth who don’t have a safe or stable place to live. We prepare our rangatahi for adulthood.
This service is for 16-24-year-olds who either are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless or have a serious housing need.
The service encourages self-sufficiency by using the positive youth development approach. Resident youths receive opportunities to exercise leadership, build key skills and get involved in their communities.
There is a communal youth space on-site. Lifewise social workers work alongside residents, helping them to create their own independent living plans. Resident youths are encouraged to identify individual goals including independent living skills, education, employment, and securing permanent housing.
Residents are required to pay 25% of their income in rent. This not only helps them learn budgeting skills (how to save money for housing expenses) but also establishes a rental payment history to assist them in obtaining permanent housing upon program graduation.
Youth who feel ready to exit the service are also offered ongoing support to help them reinforce skills, encourage further success, and to ensure they can access stable, long-term housing.
Lifewise and Airedale Property Trust run this West Auckland-based service together.
Residents receive support to take on responsibilities, like growing their own veges in the communal garden
Responding to Homeless Rangatahi and Developing Leadership in the Youth Housing Sector
Lifewise Trust is dedicated to preventing and ending Rangatahi/ youth homelessness. Through the support of the Vodafone Foundation and Auckland Council we are reigniting the youth housing collective to address the following key points across Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland);
- Co-ordination of youth housing and homeless services that reflect the needs and voices of rangatahi across Tamaki Makaurau
- To provide a response to the over representation of Rangatahi Maori in the homeless population
- Working together with the youth housing sector to provide strategic and developmental solutions to end youth homelessness
- Development of a community of practice in which practitioners can come together to share, reflect and advance ideas of innovation and ‘collective impact’
Why do youth need a separate service?
Youth homelessness is distinct from adult homelessness, both in terms of its causes and consequences
Youth often have little or no experience of living independently, dealing with landlords, paying their rent and managing a household. This is why our service includes education around resident’s rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
The population of young people experiencing homeless is also incredibly diverse. Some groups experience considerable discrimination, which is not only a contributing factor to their homelessness, but may also continue when they access services and systems while they are homeless. This exclusion also makes it difficult to access rental accommodation or a living wage, both of which are necessary for independence.
Young people experience significant developmental changes
Adolescents and young adults, depending on their age, go through significant developmental changes. These could be physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social.
Age differences matter, too. There is a huge difference in the needs, circumstances and physical and emotional development of a 14-year-old compared to an 18-year-old or a 23-year-old. The impact of these changes influences decision-making ability. These changes also affect relationships and organisational ability. To these youth, dealing with landlords or managing a household budget can seem harder than it is.
If you work within the housing or homeless sector with rangatahi (youth) in Tamaki Makaurau and would like to get involved with the Youth Homeless and Housing Collective (soon to be renamed) Please contact the Youth Strategy and Housing Coordinator Bianca Johanson to be added to our email invite list firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have resources or ideas that can assist in ending youth homelessness please also contact us for a korero.
If you need to refer a young person/rangatahi at risk of homelessness or if you are in this situation yourself, please let us know, and we will point you in the right direction. Contact email@example.com and we will endeavour to respond to you by the next working day. Alternatively you may want to find resources yourself through the following website: http://www.awhina.net.nz/
The role of Airedale Property Trust
Nurturing effective working relationships between youth and landlords
Providing education around tenants’ rights and tenant responsibilities
Separation of the role of property manager and social worker
For many of our youth, moving into the Youth Transition to Adulthood Service may be the first tenancy they have ever had. Ongoing support is vital in supporting them to sustain their tenancy until they move into permanent accommodation.
Airedale Property Trust provide property management of the youth housing and work closely with youth to develop skills around maintaining a tenancy and nurturing an effective working relationship between youth and landlords. This includes monthly property inspections, collecting rent and resolving arrears, and managing day-to-day property maintenance.
Airedale Property Trust take a relational approach and build and maintain relationships with our residents through clear, consistent and ongoing communication.