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Supporting better housing outcomes

The Government is investing $9 million over two years in the next steps of its programme to support the most vulnerable New Zealanders’ housing needs, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

This flexible fund will assist community organisations to work with around 2,000 individuals and families, to help the homeless and people having difficulty holding onto their tenancies, and to support them into housing independence.

“The evidence is clear that simply finding a bed for the homeless isn’t enough,” Mrs Bennett says.

“This funding will ensure that community organisations - working alongside central and local government - will be able to tackle the causes of homelessness, from employment, through to health factors like addiction and mental health issues.”

The package has two main initiatives:

  • $3 million for Housing First, a proven internationally acclaimed initiative that first moves people into housing and then provides support to address the issues underpinning their homelessness;
  • $6 million for Better Housing Outcomes, a range of solutions to prevent homelessness by working with social housing tenants who are at risk of eviction. Up to $1 million of this fund will support some families who could either look towards home ownership or are able to move into a private rental and free up a social house.

“I am particularly pleased to be supporting the Housing First initiative. This locally based homeless strategy will operate in central, west and south Auckland,” Mrs Bennett says.

A number of New Zealand organisations have been either using the Housing First approach, like the People’s Project in Hamilton, or looking at implementing it. The Government’s investment will make it easier for this to happen. 

“Too many families are being evicted due to rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or an overall inability to cope, they then end up in emergency housing or in insecure living circumstances,” Mrs Bennett says.

“It makes sense to get alongside them early, work with them to help them sustain their tenancy and tackle their underlying issues so they can live independently when they’re ready.

“There are many dedicated organisations that have a proven track record of working with families with complex situations. We will be shortly be inviting these organisations to submit proposals.”

The Government will also be seeking support from other partners, such as the Auckland City Council.

This package sits alongside the Government’s work in social investment to tackle the causes of dysfunction many vulnerable families face, as well as its comprehensive plan to house more people.

Tags: social housing - paula bennett

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