Homeless in New Zealand: 'I was struggling to get a tenancy in my own country' - What's keeping the homeless on the street?

The word is getting round Auckland’s rough sleepers that housing is being made available specifically for them.

The Government has set aside $63.4m in this year’s budget to provide 1,450 places to those who have been identified as chronically homeless by Housing First.

The programme provides housing without requiring psychiatric treatment or sobriety as determinants of “housing readiness”.

Auckland spokeswoman Fiona Hamilton says it’s much easier for homeless people to deal with issues like addiction, mental and physical health once they have a safe, warm, stable place to live.

“The whole philosophy behind Housing First is housing’s a human right and there are no conditions to being housed,” she told 1 NEWS.

Clinton was living on and off the street for about 30 years before he was put into a private rental in Auckland’s CBD, organised by Housing First.

“I was struggling to get a tenancy in my own country and I feel that’s wrong because of my criminal history, because I have drug and alcohol issues.”

Clinton said that he went to the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective to ask for help and was put in touch with Housing First.

He said after a month-long application process, he was housed within nine days.

To be accepted onto the programme, people need to chronically homeless for at least a year or in and out of accommodation for at least three years.

Each client will be assigned a social worker who will start meeting with them on a regular basis to work out what they need and where they want to live.

The Ministry of Social Development says right now we can’t build permanent housing quick enough. Source: 1 NEWS

Clinton has been given access to support services to help stay in his home and address his issues so he “can lead a better life”.

Already he’s cut back on his drug use but is still getting used to keep a budget and taking care of bills.

“At the end of the day I end up with a hundred and something dollars and I have to pay my water out of that, my power and I have to buy my food.

“So I don’t go out and do what I used to do when I was on the streets,” Clinton said.

Auckland’s Housing First programme has housed 285 families and individuals to the end of June.

Housing First began operating in Christchurch and Tauranga in May this year, funded to deliver 100 places in each city.

In 2018 and 2019, a further 700 places will be delivered across Wellington and the Hutt, Rotorua, Whangarei and Northland, Blenheim and Nelson, Napier and Hastings.

You can read more from 1 NEWS' Homeless in New Zealand series from Monday here and yesterday here.

From discrimination to an overpriced rental market and family violence, the homeless face a raft of challenges. Source: 1 NEWS

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