No simple fix to homelessness
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.
Rami Alrudaini says LinkPeople’s homeless clients have complex needs.