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Housing First plans to house another 120 homeless people

Wednesday, July 29, 2020   Posted in: Resources and Information By: Administrator With tags: housing, services

Housing First Christchurch has accepted the challenge of housing 120 homeless people over the next two years.

Housing First Christchurch was established in 2018 to house Christchurch’s chronically homeless. So far it has housed 118 of the city’s most vulnerable people.

Housing First Christchurch is a collaboration of six organisations working together to help people stay in their homes and never return to homelessness and is led by the Christchurch Methodist Mission. Its collaboration partners are:

  • Comcare Trust;
  • Emerge Aotearoa;
  • Christchurch City Mission;
  • Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust; and
  • Te Whare Roimata.

The Canterbury DHB is in Housing First’s wider champion/management group.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has extended Housing First Christchurch’s contract and set the target of housing 120 more homeless people over the next two years.

Housing First Christchurch Manager Nicola Fleming says the new contract recognises that what they’re doing is working. “Our approach works because we focus on providing housing first and then wrapping around the appropriate support services. Many of our kaewa, have complex needs, that don’t fit in a box.” This internationally proven model recognises that people are better equipped to address issues such as mental health and substance use, once they are housed. “We’ve made huge progress in helping those on the street. A key challenge now is getting to those living in cars, garages or couch surfing.”

Nicola says what Housing First Christchurch needs more than anything right now is rental properties.

“We could solve chronic homelessness in our city tomorrow if we had more landlords offering up their properties. It’s a great deal for landlords. We visit weekly, guarantee rent and stand by both landlord and tenant – it’s truly a win for all involved.”

She is urging landlords to rent their properties to them and says the misconceptions about homeless people are far outweighed by the reality. “Eighty-three percent of our kaewa have been offered a lease renewal by their landlord, so we know our kaewa are great tenants.”

Housing First Christchurch is interested in renting one- or two-bedroom properties across Christchurch and is urging landlords to get in touch to find out more about the process of renting their investment property with them.

Contact Debbie Watson if you are a landlord who is interested in being involved (027 646 3898 or debbiew[at]housingfirstchch.co.nz).

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch