18 Aug 2019

Government announces an extra $54m to stop homelessness

2:27 pm on 18 August 2019

The government will spend $54 million on fresh initiatives aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness.

Homeless elderly woman sleeping rough in a park curled up against the cold autumn weather on a rustic wooden bench

Photo: 123RF

The funding is separate to the $197m being spent to strengthen Housing First programmes.

Associate Minister of Housing Kris Faafoi said a new housing team had extra funding to help people at risk stay in their rental homes and for other support services.

The Sustaining Tenancies Programme will be extended, offering a fence at the top of the cliff, Mr Faafoi said.

The programme offers help to stay in housing to people with complex needs, such as mental health problems, addictions, criminal history, or family violence.

Sustaining Tenancies has been trial funding eight providers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to support approximately 550 public housing tenants.

Mr Faafoi said about 1500 people would be now be able to benefit from the programme.

Over the next four years, $31m will be spent on 67 intensive case managers and navigators to work with high-needs people.

A further $16m will be used for increased social services.

Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said the case managers and navigators would be a single point of contact for individuals and their families.

"It's about having a joined-up approach as a government, making sure that people if they need housing support, if they need access to education and training, if they need access to support for family violence, then they're getting that," she said.

The government wanted homelessness to be rare and non-recurring, so that meant not only providing housing, but wrap around support as well, Ms Sepuloni said.

The extra workers and services would be nation-wide, but the focus would be on the cities and regions most affected, such as Northland, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Napier, Hastings, and Lower Hutt, she said.

The additional services will be phased in from October this year.

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