Housing First aims to end homelessness in Rotorua

By Regan Paranihi

Today Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta launched the Housing First programme in Rotorua, which aims to put an end to homelessness in the Bay of Plenty city.

Mahuta says that the programme has been proven internationally to support homeless people with high and complex needs.

“It provides them with a home and continues to support them for as long as they need including helping address the issues that led to their homelessness.”

The programme is in recognition of World Homeless Day and is a partnership between LinkPeople, Lifewise and Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Trust.

Mahuta says, “This partnership will be tackling homelessness head-on in Rotorua, with the aim of ending it completely, not just managing it,”

The successful delivery of the programme depends upon the combined experience of LinkPeople and Lifewise, who are already delivering Housing First services in other regions, along with the wisdom, expertise and local networks of Te Taumata.

48 people were found sleeping rough during a homeless count in Rotorua earlier this year.  Since then the demand to take action has increased.

Mahuta says the Housing First programme is the government's way of taking action and is focused on making homelessness a thing of the past in Rotorua.

“Government is focused on supporting all New Zealanders to have a warm, safe and dry place to call home," says Mahuta.

“However, we can’t do it alone.  We are committed to working with our iwi, our community housing providers, The Rotorua Lakes Council, and our trusted community partners to tackle this crisis.”  

Final negotiations around the delivery of the service are still underway.  Once they are complete, the Rotorua programme will begin operating.