24 Jun 2019

Housing First aims to shelter 200 homeless people in Wellington

4:59 pm on 24 June 2019

A programme which aims to end homelessness has been rolled out in Wellington.

Phil Twyford

Housing Minister Phil Twyford Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Housing Minister Phil Twyford today unveiled the plan to get 200 homeless people off the street and into secure housing over the next two years.

The accommodation will be provided by Kahungunu Whānau Services and a collective led by DCM - formerly the Downtown Community Ministry.

The Housing First scheme already operates in Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Tauranga and Rotorua - and is soon to begin in Blenheim.

Mr Twyford said that by housing homeless people, they would be able to connect with health and social services such as mental health counselling, budgeting advice and drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

This year's Budget put aside almost $200 million for the programme, bringing the total number of funded houses to 2700.

Wellington mayor Justin Lester welcomed the initiative and emphasised the need for more housing for the city's most vulnerable.

"On any given night we know approximately 60-80 Wellingtonians are sleeping rough on our city's streets," Mr Lester said in a statement.

"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."

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