‘We need to reach out to them’

Papakura Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - CHRIS HARROWELL

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.

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