‘We need to reach out to them’
A South Auckland family found living in their car are among those helped as part of a project tackling chronic homelessness.
Housing First Auckland is a joint initiative between the Government, Auckland Council and five community social housing providers.
Its goal is to house 472 homeless Aucklanders in the belief it’s easier for them to have any personal issues addressed once they have somewhere to live.
Project leader Julie Nelson says the people involved want to get 170 homeless South Aucklanders into appropriate accommodation over the next two years.
‘‘This model is about finding the most appropriate type of housing for these people. It’s hard out there but if people have a sense of community and connectedness [it will help].’’
Manukau-based social housing provider LinkPeople is leading the efforts in South Auckland. Staff members including Rami Alrudaini and Tom Caukwell are visiting various locations looking for people who want help.
They’ve gone to Citizens Advice Bureaux, Work and Income offices, town centres, and places such as Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura, Hunters Corner in Papatoetoe, and the Manurewa library.
Alrudaini says the first people they’ve housed as part of the new initiative is a family of five who moved out of an overcrowding situation and ended up living in their car for several weeks.
The family was previously offered emergency housing but it was too far away from their children’s school. They decided to keep sleeping rough until they found a house or something closer to the school.
LinkPeople has now helped them get into a home with financial support from Work and Income. The organisation manages its own social housing stock which is comprised of one- and two-bedroom homes spread from Otahuhu to Papakura, Alrudaini says.
It also builds relationships with private landlords and talks to homeless people about budgeting and what they can afford. Alrudaini says most of the people they help are unlikely to seek out the support they need.
‘‘We need to reach out to them, build trust and move the conversation toward housing. Some of the people we’re finding are sleeping in cars, in people’s sheds and houses, and outdoors.’’
See sidebar, right.
LinkPeople staff Rami Alrudaini, left, and Tom Caukwell are helping South Auckland’s homeless people into housing.