Project to help more homeless
Work to help South Auckland’s rough sleepers is stepping up.
The Manurewa Local Board has formed a steering group in an effort to assist such people get off the streets and into housing.
It includes staff from various Government agencies and Auckland Council.
Involved also are town centre manager Neil Punja, Counties Manukau Central police area commander Mark Benefield, LinkPeople service and relationship manager Rami Alrudaini, and Wiri Licensing Trust chairman Alan Johnson.
The local board’s efforts follow the death of rough sleeper Haami Manahi, 59, whose body was found on steps at the back of Manurewa Methodist Parish on July 11.
Board chairwoman Angela Dalton says she and her colleagues are not experts on homelessness, but they’re determined to take a leadership role.
‘‘What we recognised is we all have a part to play. We want our voice to be heard.’’
Dalton has met with Julie Nelson, who leads the Housing First Auckland initiative and is joint chief executive of mental health and wellbeing provider Wise Group.
The Housing First model works on the belief it’s easier for homeless people to have any personal issues addressed once they have somewhere to live.
Nelson also leads The People’s Project in Hamilton, which Wise Group established to end chronic homelessness in that city by 2016.
It employs staff who advocate for local rough sleepers and help them to access services and support they need to get off the streets.
Dalton says she would like to see something similar established in her community.
‘‘Hamilton had 80 homeless people and they’ve all been housed,’’ she says.
‘‘I said to them [the Ministry of Social Development] the board wants them around our steering group table and we want something like The People’s Project in Manurewa.’’
There’s about 20 regular rough sleepers in the Manurewa Town Centre, Dalton says.
She’s identified a local church as a possible location for The People’s Project to be set up.
The board may help fund its operation, Dalton says.
‘‘We’re committed. If it comes down to paying rent [for the space], we’d look at it.’’
Work is ongoing to help rough sleepers such as Haami Manahi, who was found dead on steps at the back of a church.