Housing First Christchurch is working with police to find the handful of people still living on O¬åtautahi’s streets and provide them with safe accommodation.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has contracted 25 motels to provide immediate housing to the homeless, with Housing First Christchurch coordinating this service.
Housing First manager Nicola Fleming says it’s really important that the city’s homeless are not forgotten during the COVID-19 lockdown.
"Homelessness doesn’t stop and neither do we. Our focus is working to urgently get people into accommodation and provide support to the homeless community."
Housing First will also assist with emergency food for those in motels and will coordinate with Work and Income to ensure they are receiving their full benefit entitlements.
"This is about ensuring some of our most vulnerable people are kept as safe as possible from COVID-19 and helping to stop its spread."
Nicola says they’ve made strides in dramatically reducing the amount of people on the streets of Christchurch and now is the time to further increase those efforts but they need help from the community to do so.
"For the homeless left on the streets, sleeping in cars or garages – we’d appreciate help identifying those ‘invisible’ cases. We’d love anyone to get in touch with us if they have seen someone on the street, so we can get them help.
"We have motel accommodation and supplies available and will provide support services once they’re in the accommodation." says Nicola.
Housing First typically arranges permanent homes for homeless people – leasing houses from the private and public sectors. Its approach is ‘housing first’ and then wrap-around support to help people lead independent lives.
It’s a model that’s working with 83 per cent of Housing First tenants being asked to stay on by private landlords, after their 12 month lease has ended.
"This kind of success proves how valuable wrap-around support is and how awesome our kaewa (clients) are," says Nicola.