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Housing First

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Housing First is a proven approach to housing and supporting people who are chronically homeless, sleeping rough, and who often have multiple and complex needs.

MSD currently funds and supports the Housing First pilot programme for providers in Auckland. We will be expanding this pilot to Christchurch, Tauranga and Wellington to work with chronically homeless people using the core principles of the model.

MSD also provides funding to the Hamilton Peoples Project which follows the core principles of the model.

The goal of the Housing First programme is to reduce and end homelessness in New Zealand.

How does Housing First work?

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All people deserve a warm, secure, suitable and permanent place to live. Housing First recognises that housing is the vital first step because it is much easier for people to address issues such as mental health or substance abuse once they are housed.

Reaching out to people who are sleeping rough, Housing First provides immediate housing with no readiness conditions, such as sobriety or psychiatric treatment.

It also offers people long-term, flexible support services to help people stay in their home and address their issues so they can lead a better life.

The Housing First programme is an evidence-based approach that has been successful overseas and in New Zealand.

Read more about Housing First core principles

Housing First is a collective approach to end homelessness

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Homelessness is a complex issue that no single organisation can fix alone:

  • MSD funds providers to deliver the Housing First programme.
  • Local Housing First providers find houses and offer long-term, personalised support to help people stay in their homes, linking across sectors to find the services that people need.
  • Local councils often contribute funding to and support Housing First, enhancing the services and housing options that providers can offer to homeless people.
  • Private landlords, iwi, community housing providers and Housing New Zealand provide houses; Housing First providers manage the tenancies and the properties.
  • Mental health services, health services, community social services, iwi organisations and Children’s Action Teams support people in Housing First.
  • Work and Income, Corrections, Te Puni Kokiri and Oranga Tamariki may also be working with people in Housing First.

The Housing First programme in Auckland

  • In Auckland, the Housing First programme has been operating since March 2017, with funding to house and support up to 472 chronically homeless people.
  • It is delivered by five service providers who form the Housing First Auckland Collective who work with the council, Housing New Zealand, property agents and private landlords, as well as range of health and social services.
  • In its first nine months of operation, the Auckland Collective housed 176 people in both public and private housing (as at 27 February 2018).
  • The five service providers who form the Housing First Auckland Collective are Káhui Tú Kaha, Auckland City Mission, Lifewise, LinkPeople and VisionWest.
  • The cost for provider support services is $4.75 million over two years, jointly funded by MSD ($3.75 million) and Auckland Council ($1 million). MSD also contribute rental subsidies through the Income Related Rent Subsidy and Accommodation Supplement
  • The service will be increased by an extra 100 places during 2018.

Housing First in Christchurch, Tauranga and Wellington

The Housing First programme is expanding to support chronically homeless people in more cities during 2018.

  • Christchurch – up to 100 places
  • Tauranga – up to 100 places
  • Wellington (including Lower Hutt) – up to 150 places

In Christchurch, MSD is working with a collaboration of providers will deliver Housing First led by the Christchurch Methodist Mission with Comcare, Emerge Aotearoa and Otautahi Community Housing Trust.

In Tauranga, MSD is working with the People’s Project Tauranga, a subsidiary of the Wise Group.

In Wellington, providers are working on a proposal to deliver Housing First for up to 150 chronically homeless people starting from mid-2018.

MSD expect that provider support services willstart inApril for Christchurch and Tauranga with Wellington to follow.

Housing First core principles

Housing First is based on a set of core principles. In New Zealand, providers have evolved these principles within a kaupapa ­Māori framework.

  • Immediate access to housing with no housing readiness conditions (e.g. sobriety): Housing is a priority. Willingness to be housed and maintain a tenancy is the only requirement. People do not lose their housing if they disengage or no longer need support.
  • Choice and self-determination Each person’s choices and needs determine the support and housing they receive.
  • A harm reduction and recovery orientation approach: Providers holistically support people to cut back on practices – such as substance abuse - that put them at risk of harm, and to recover their physical and mental health.
  • Individualised, client driven support: providers proactively and persistently engage to make the service fit the person, for as long it is needed.
  • Social and community integration: Supporting better health, relationships, reconnections with whanau and community, learning and growth, and achieving goals.
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