The Auckland City Mission Te Tāpui Atawhai has been helping people in great need for over 100 years and it has now won the top award at this year's property industry awards for its new home.
Over 15 years in the making, Homeground is an 80-room apartment complex in the Auckland CBD equipped with a medical centre, withdrawal facilities, kitchen, dining, education and training areas for the tenants.
So far, 50 of the 80 rooms are occupied and half of those tenants are Māori.
Auckland City Mission chief executive Helen Robinson says it has been the dedication of a group of people for nearly 15 years that has resulted in its completion. “I’m so incredibly proud to show it off and share it with the nation.”
Robinson says there is a whole range of services such as like the medical centre, community rooms and withdrawal centres. “What that means is for any individual or whānau we have an ability to truly respond to all of their needs in one place.”
First for social housing
Robinson says that, because the apartments are permanent, if someone requires their services at the accommodation “people can stay here for the rest of their lives if that’s right for them”.
To qualify to live at Homeground people would need to go to MSD and answer a series of questions to see if they could qualify for living there. Currently, 40 people living in the apartments need a high level of support and are a part of the Housing First Programme.
Robinson says it feels unbelievable to win the award and is the first time social housing has won the award. “When we were told we won the award there were screams of jubilation.”
“For the vision and the innovation and the design and the construction of Homeground to be recognised by a property council in New Zealand actually meant a lot to us.”