The government’s Housing First programme is launching in the Wellington region, and aims to house 200 long-term homeless people and whanau over the next two years.
This year’s Wellbeing Budget is investing $197 million for the programme to cater to extra 1000 long-term homeless people. This takes the number of funded Housing First places throughout the country to 2,700, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said.
The programme will be provided in Wellington and Lower Hutt by Kahungunu Whanau Services and a collective led by DCM, and including Emerge Aotearoa, the Wellington Night Shelter and the Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust.
Twyford said Housing First houses people and then connects them with health and social services such as mental health counselling, budgeting advice and drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
“Housing is a basic human right and allows people to live with dignity,” he said. “Our government is committed to tackling homelessness.”
Meanwhile, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester welcomed the initiative and emphasised the need for more housing and critical services for the city’s most vulnerable.
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“On any given night we know approximately 60-80 Wellingtonians are sleeping rough on our city’s streets,” Lester said. “We know that homelessness is not an easy fix, but the Housing First programme allows us to provide the wrap-around support services that people need to sustain their homes.
“This initiative builds on council’s commitment to public and affordable housing in the city,” the mayor added.