13 Dec 2019

Housing First expands homelessness scheme to Nelson, Tasman

1:18 pm on 13 December 2019

The government's homelessness programme, Housing First, has been expanded to the top of the South Island.

General vision of homelessness in Auckland central city.

Photo: RNZ / Luke McPake

The programme, launched in Nelson today, will develop 50 accommodation units across Nelson and Tasman to house individuals and families over the next two years.

Housing First was funded by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and has already housed 939 people around the country.

The partnership model included iwi, communities, councils and the government.

Nelson's Salvation Army Corp has been contracted to lead the programme in Nelson and Tasman, where an estimated 70 people were homeless at any one time.

Captain Kenneth Walker said homelessness was a complex and growing problem and it would take a concerted and sustained effort by many to reduce it in Nelson-Tasman.

He said there was a growing homeless population in the region, linked to the high cost of housing.

"More and more people are coming through our doors with accommodation as the main presenting issue. Because of the high cost of renting a house here - that's assuming you can find one - combined with hardship associated with addiction or mental health, there is a growing homeless population in Nelson."

The Salvation Army would work in partnership with several groups and agencies to deliver the service.

Almost $200 million was allocated in this year's Budget for the programme that will help house almost 3000 throughout the country.

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