Government investment shifts focus towards permanent housing outcomes

The Government’s announcement is to continue investing in existing and new Housing First programmes.

The Government recognises the growing body of New Zealand evidence that Housing First, which prioritises permanent housing outcomes, is one of the best approaches for ending chronic homelessness.

On Sunday the Prime Minister and Minister of Housing and Urban Development announced an additional $194M will be invested in Housing First programmes over the next four years. The money will fund an additional 1,044 places in the programme, bringing the total number of people in the programme to 2,700.

Wise Group joint chief executive Julie Nelson said the Group is delighted to see the Government’s support for and ongoing commitment to the Housing First approach.

“The Wise Group has pioneered Housing First in New Zealand, starting with The People’s Project in Hamilton in 2014. Following Hamilton’s success, we were selected to open The People’s Project in Tauranga in 2018. In addition, LinkPeople and Wise Management Services are partners in the Housing First Auckland collective which has been operating since 2017, and LinkPeople is also a partner in the Iwi-led Rotorua collective.”

Julie said with five years’ experience, The Group is building a significant body of data about the nature of homelessness which is being used to inform several ground-breaking research programmes throughout New Zealand.

These include partnerships with the University of Waikato’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis and Te Kotahi Research Institute, and Otago University’s He Kainga Ora, Healthy Housing research programme. In addition, Carole McMinn from The People’s Project is undertaking her PhD investigating pathways into homelessness in the Waikato region.

Housing First is an evidence-based approach which prioritises finding a person a home first and then providing the wraparound support needed to sustain their tenancy and reduce the risk of future homelessness. The approach recognises that it’s easier for a person to address issues such as addictions and to better manage mental health, once they have a home.

Julie said Housing First is a no-exit programme with no fixed timeframe for people to be in or out of the service. Losing a house does not mean exiting the programme – as the support continues to help re-house people. This, she said, requires sustainable funding.

“I think we all agree this is a significant commitment from the government that will provide hope and, most importantly, benefit some of the most vulnerable people and whānau across Aotearoa. It is really pleasing to see the evidence that underpins Housing First being taken seriously and shifting the focus towards permanent, sustainable housing outcomes for people.  Working together, we can end homelessness in New Zealand so that it becomes rare, brief and non-recurring.”

Read the full announcement on the Beehive website.
Find out more about The People’s Project’s results on its website.
Find out more about Housing First Auckland collective results on its website.
Listen to Fiona Hamilton from Housing First Auckland talk about the announcement on Newstalk ZB.
Read coverage from the Bay of Plenty’s SunLive News which covers Tauranga’s Housing First results in more detail.

Published on: 16 May 2019