Caution new Auckland city 280 unit block doesn't become ghetto

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly is cautioning that a government plan to build a 280 new apartment block with onsite wrap-around services in the city, doesn't become a ghetto.

However Farrelly says if done right it will be on track to end homelessness in Auckland.

From 89 units built 60-years ago to 280 new apartments in three years- the government’s latest move towards addressing homelessness.

“We have to create diverse communities and not ghettos,” says Farrelly.

“If the population mix is done in the right way and the right services are there, and the design is right, it could be something vibrant and exciting in our community.”

There are an estimated 500 rough sleepers in Auckland.  The Housing and Urban Development Minister says the government will provide state homes for a range of families in need.

“About 80 of them will be rented on the open market cause we know there's a big demand for affordable housing for people who work in the city,” said Phil Twyford.

“Then there will be a mix of some who we would call high-needs people who need access to those services.  And then also state housing, but not so much high needs.” 

HomeGround is the new development plan by Auckland City Mission to provide 80 new units with detox, health and social services in two years.

Farrelly says the government's new build needs to provide the right services.

“It's quite resource-intense. Some of these people require case management, social work support, health services at an intense level,” he says.

“If people are homeless, they need help.  It might be budgeting or health services or addiction or mental health services,” says Twyford, “Whatever the need is we'll make sure the tenants get the support they need.”

Hurimoana Dennis, manager of the Te Puea Marae-based shelter for the homeless says services need to also have a blend of tikanga Māori to help those high needs tenants get their lives back on track.

A Housing NZ office will be based in the building with 24-hour staff on site.