Tuesday, April 23, 2024

HAP building on homelessness relief

An 18-month review of the Aotearoa New Zealand’s Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) has shown good progress against 18 immediate initiatives, Associate Minister of Housing (Homelessness), Marama Davidson said today.

The HAP, launched just weeks before the country went into its first COVID-19 lockdown, set out a package of actions to address homelessness and to provide urgent support to whānau and individuals who are most in need.

“It’s heartening to continue to make progress against the HAP throughout the pandemic,” Minister Davidson said.

“This is testament to the mahi of our community providers and government agencies working together.”

She said sector experts acknowledged there had been major shift in recognition of the severity and urgency of homelessness, and that the HAP was providing solutions backed up with investment.

“Providers also said people experiencing homelessness have more options for support than they have had before.”

“Through the review, providers described the COVID-19 response as exemplary, with high-trust models in contracting and reporting, and quick and responsive collaboration,” the Minister said.

Providers also noted that some people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness, appeared to be more comfortable with coming forward for support than was observed 18 months ago, she said.

During the initial response in 2020, approximately 1,500 people were placed into accommodation.

“That was made possible because of the relationships that sit behind the HAP, and our Government’s investment in supporting people out of homelessness. The majority of those people housed during 2020 lockdown continue to get support,” said Housing Minister, Megan Woods. 

“We are continuing to work with Iwi and hapū on homelessness prevention and support initiatives, including within the HAP,” Ms Davidson says.

These efforts 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.

“We are also seeing good progress on the projects from round one of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund set up for supporting local projects addressing homelessness,” Ms Davidson said.

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.”

“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,” Ms Davidson says.

Minister Woods said the HAP had also delivered much-needed transitional housing supply.

“Under the action plan, 1,000 additional places and services are now supporting people with a pathway towards stable housing and reassurance that there will always be support,” she said.

“This Government’s ongoing commitment is to support individuals and whānau in urgent need with safe and comfortable housing. We are continuing to deliver at pace through the Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 with 3,000 additional places currently expected to be delivered by mid-2022.”

Minister Davison said that over the next 18 months, the government would be increasing its focus on additional priority areas, such as helping rangatahi and young people into safe and stable accommodation, alongside strengthening kaupapa Māori responses.

“Improving access to health, mental health and addiction support is an additional priority under the action plan to bolster the wrap around support for vulnerable whanau experiencing homelessness,” Ms Davidson said.

“This plan is at the heart of this government’s ongoing commitment to address homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand. We made good progress despite the challenging times over the last 18 months and we will continue to build on this momentum. Working with our partners – including iwi, the community housing sector, and local government – we are getting as many people into warm, dry houses as quickly as we can, to begin the journey to more permanent housing.”

Read the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan 18 months review on the HUD website.

Latest Articles