No sim­ple fix to home­less­ness

Manukau Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CHRIS HARROWELL

Dozens of home­less South Auck­lan­ders have moved into warm and dry houses in the past five months.

Manukau-based com­mu­nity hous­ing provider LinkPeo­ple has helped 39 home­less peo­ple into ac­com­mo­da­tion since the Gov­ern­ment and Auck­land Coun­cil launched the Hous­ing First Auck­land ini­tia­tive ear­lier this year.

LinkPeo­ple ser­vice and re­la­tion­ship man­ager Rami Al­ru­daini says six fam­i­lies and 13 chil­dren are among the 39 South Auck­lan­ders helped so far.

He says home­less­ness is of­ten blamed on a lack of affordable hous­ing or peo­ple’s choices, but it’s not al­ways so sim­ple.

‘‘In our ex­pe­ri­ence peo­ple don’t choose to be home­less. It’s about vul­ner­a­bil­ity, dis­crim­i­na­tion and sys­tems not work­ing well to sup­port peo­ple.’’

LinkPeo­ple helps chron­i­cally home­less peo­ple to ac­cess safe and affordable homes as well as the wrap­around sup­port they need to keep their ten­ancy.

Al­ru­daini says many of its clients have multiple and com­plex needs such as ad­dic­tion and men­tal or phys­i­cal health is­sues.

‘‘We make sure they’re re­ceiv­ing the health, well­be­ing and so­cial ser­vices they need.

‘‘If those needs aren’t met, their health will get worse and there’s a risk they will be­come home­less again.’’

One of the big­gest chal­lenges LinkPeo­ple is fac­ing is the sup­ply of affordable hous­ing in South Auck­land, Al­ru­daini says.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion re­lies heav­ily on re­la­tion­ships with so­cial­ly­minded land­lords and prop­erty man­agers and its staff get to know their ten­ants and meet with them each week as part of the Hous­ing First model, he says.

‘‘We’re al­ways on the look­out for more prop­er­ties ... and en­cour­age those in­volved in the rental mar­ket, whether they have one prop­erty or a port­fo­lio ... to get in touch.’’

So­cial Hous­ing Min­is­ter Amy Adams says 150 home­less peo­ple have been helped into homes through Hous­ing First Auck­land.

More than 75 per cent were placed into Auck­land’s pri­vate rental mar­ket, with the rest go­ing into so­cial hous­ing, she says.

‘‘Through ini­tia­tives like Hous­ing First we can change the lives of peo­ple with highly com­plex prob­lems that don’t fit neatly within tra­di­tional gov­ern­ment struc­tures and ap­proaches.’’

Phone LinkPeo­ple on 0800 932 432.

CHRIS HARROWELL

Rami Al­ru­daini says LinkPeo­ple’s home­less clients have com­plex needs.

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