New model to end­home­less­ness

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - TOM CARNEGIE

‘‘A house is the pri­mary place of heal­ing.’’

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.

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