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Homelessness still needs a national strategy

Published: Tue 29 Aug 2017 08:54 AM
Lifewise state that homelessness still needs a national strategy
Social development agency Lifewise commends Bill English’s acknowledgement of the Housing First collective and its delivery of tangible results, and states that the Government still needs a nationwide strategy to tackle the problem.
Lifewise is one of five Auckland based agencies, Affinity Services, Auckland City Mission, LinkPeople and VisionWest, who are working as the Housing First collective running a two-year demonstration project to end homelessness for 472 chronically homeless people (adults) in the Auckland region using the internationally proven Housing First model.
According to Lifewise CEO Moira Lawler despite the positive results of the Housing First collective to date the Government can’t ignore the other agencies, NGOs, volunteers, IWI who work hard to support people who experience homelessness and need to be part of the solution too.
"We can't assume funding every part of the community to work in a responsive, unaligned way that this complex problem will be solved,” says Lawler.
“We need a collaborative, national strategy that will not only address homelessness, but also make it rare, brief, and non-recurring.”
The number of homeless people continues to increase throughout the country, with a myriad of definitions from people who are couch surfing, living in cars & motel units to the chronic homeless; those who have been living on the streets for a number of years.
According to Lawler a national strategy would need to start with an effective count of how many people are living with homelessness.
“We need to know what we're dealing with. It's really important that the political parties and government understands there are some things only government can do. This is about policy settings and can't be left to the community and NGOs,” says Lawler.
The Housing First Auckland City Centre programme has supported 20 people into permanent homes since it launched in March this year. Lifewise, in partnership with the Auckland City Mission, is working with mostly single rough sleepers who are known to their services and who have been homeless for many years.
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