Photo / File
Sector experts acknowledge there has been a major shift in recognition of the severity and urgency of homelessness and that the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) is providing solutions, says Marama Davidson, the Associate Minister of Housing (Homelessness).
In a joint statement with Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods, who said the 18-month review of HAP shows "good progress" against the immediate initiatives set out to address homelessness, Davidson said, "It’s heartening to continue to make progress against the HAP throughout the pandemic."
The HAP set out a package of actions to address homelessness that built on and supported other work underway around Aotearoa to provide urgent support to whānau and individuals who are most in need.
“We are continuing to work with Iwi and hapū on homelessness prevention and support initiatives, including within the HAP,” says Davidson.
She says these include Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi Trust, which received funding through the He Kūkū Ki Te Kāinga fund to help complete the purchase of an eight-unit housing facility in Tauranga.
The property is being repurposed for iwi social and transitional housing accommodation, enabling the development of kauapapa Māori based wrap-around support services for whānau living in housing insecurity.
Projects from round one of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund set up to support local projects addressing homelessness are also progressing well, says Davidson.
“Local initiatives such as Tākiri Mai te Ata in partnership with Petone Budget Service Inc and Aro Mai Housing First in Wellington received funding through round one to open Wa Kāinga Housing Hub. The hub is a single access point to a range of services for whānau in our communities facing housing and homelessness issues.
“Another initiative supported the development of a toolkit and a competency programme to build capacity across the wider Auckland region to enable an effective and safe response to the housing needs of rainbow youth communities.”
Davidson says she is aware there is much more work that needs to be done.
“We know that more needs to be done to address the systemic issues. The timely review of HAP helped us understand how the plan is tracking and what needs to be prioritised to address the added pressures from the pandemic,” she says.