Budget 2019 will turn around the lives of more than a 1,000 long-term homeless people by helping them into permanent homes – the largest government investment ever in addressing chronic homelessness, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today.
Jacinda Ardern said Budget 2019 is breaking the cycle for long-term homeless people by giving them a permanent, warm and safe home, and support services to help address the causes of homelessness.
“Housing is a basic human right and allows people to live with dignity.
“We are committed to tackling homelessness. That’s why we have made it an investment priority for the second year in a row by boosting support for the internationally-acclaimed programme Housing First even further.
“Housing First is all about breaking the cycle. It recognises that most long-term homeless people have a number of complex problems such as mental health issues and addictions; and that they have a much higher chance of addressing them once they are housed.
“It turns lives around by housing them and then connecting them with health and social services such as mental health counselling, budgeting advice, and drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
“That’s why Budget 2019 is continuing to invest in Housing First and funding 1,044 new places. This will raise the number of people the programme can help to 2,700,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Research by He Kainga Oranga at the University of Otago in collaboration with Hamilton’s Housing First provider The People's Project has shown the homeless people they help have high mental health needs*.
Phil Twyford said the past three winters have seen record numbers of homeless on our city streets throughout the country.
“Housing First has housed 720 households, including 431 children in Auckland alone, since 2017. It is now helping house long-term homeless people in Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Tauranga and Rotorua, and will launch in Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson/Blenheim and Wellington later this year.
“Homelessness is the sharp end of the housing crisis. Our Government wants to stop people falling through the cracks and becoming homeless in the first place. That’s why we have made 979 more transitional housing places available since coming to office and are well on track to provide 6,400 more public housing places over four years funded in last year’s Budget.
“While we’re making good progress, the housing crisis was created over a decade and isn’t going to be fixed overnight. We still have work to do,” Phil Twyford said.