New model to endhomelessness
A new housing model designed to end homelessness is being trialled in Auckland.
The ‘‘Housing First’’ model, launched on February 27, has been given $3 million in tax payer money to help place homeless people into permanent housing as soon as possible.
The model goes against the traditional approach of addressing health and addiction issues before putting homeless people into housing.
Created by Canadian com- munity psychologist Sam Tsemberis in 1992, the model is about to be rolled out across Auckland with Government and Auckland Council backing.
Its ultimate goal is to end homelessness in Auckland.
Housing First is being implemented by the Auckland City Mission, Lifewise, LinkPeople, Vision West and Affinity Services, which together make up the Auckland Housing First Collective.
In July 2016 the Government allocated $3m towards Housing First for its first two years while Auckland Council has to date allocated $45,900 towards the approach.
An estimated 177 people were sleeping rough in Auckland’s CBD last year - up from 68 in 2013.
Auckland City Mission chief executive officer Chris Farrelly said it was hoping to have the first 11 people into permanent housing in just over a month.
‘‘It is about understanding that a house is the primary place of healing for homeless,’’ Farrelly said.
‘‘Once they are in a house we then can wrap the support they need around them.’’
Lifewise chief executive Moira Lawler said Housing First was an evidence based model that had major success overseas.
‘‘The ultimate goal is that this will end functional homelessness, so when someone is homeless it will be brief, rare and non recurring,’’ Lawler said.
Lawler said Housing First would use state and private houses.
She said the cost to ratepayers of a homeless person was often a lot higher than if they were housed.
‘‘Very vulnerable and unwell people, are costing the taxpayer now, they are in and out of police cells, they are in and out of emergency departments.’’
Sam Tsemberis will speak at an Auckland Council event, called Auckland Conversations, on March 23.