A year of service expansion and compassionate care

The year 2021 saw CMM develop new services, continue long-term programmes that reach thousands each day, as well as once again adapt quickly to the challenges presented by Covid-19 restrictions.

Among the new initiatives CMM launched this year was a service for young people leaving state care, intensive support to whānau struggling in the east of Christchurch, and support for people at risk of losing their tenancies. The Government granted CMM new housing service contracts in Nelson and the West Coast in recognition of our expertise in the sector. 

CMM expanded essential services for the most vulnerable. Fifteen whānau settled into permanent, warm, secure homes in Richmond, Christchurch, and four older people moved into their new one-bedroom accessible units in Wesley Village. Housing First Christchurch has now housed 215 long-term homeless people since its inception three years ago. CMM increased its response to the housing crisis by supporting people living in motels and its transitional housing service. 

Over 60 tamariki were enrolled at Aratupu Preschool & Whānau Hub, with 38 whānau assisted by the Whānau Support Worker. Eleven CMM kaimahi worked in over 100 schools under the Mana Ake contract, supporting nearly 660 tamariki and/or their whānau. The Government extended the scheme to five other district health boards, on the basis of the success of Mana Ake in Canterbury. Our Schools Workers offered support to 254 clients this year.

In the course of the year, Social Workers and Psychologists supported just over 500 whānau by working with parents, tamariki and young people, and assisted 273 individuals and whānau with budgeting support. We were honoured to be part of innovative new projects such as intensive support 24/7 for families in east Christchurch after local families named CMM as a trusted agency. 

WesleyCare provided about 37,000 bed nights for residents. It continued offering high quality palliative care, chaplaincy support, a highly experienced staff team, and resident safety in this Covid-19 environment. 

Community development workers in Linwood and New Brighton supported communities in these lower socio-economic areas. Some 34 families and 101 children were supported by Kidshub in Linwood and 113 people participated in Wellbeing New Brighton initiatives. Pegasus Health partnership community workers helped 371 people disenfranchised by the health system receive health services.

Housing continued to see exponential growth. In addition to our new housing developments our transitional housing service has also grown over the last year, with 20 houses now being used for this purpose. The new Sustaining Tenancies programme has supported more than 35 households in Canterbury at risk of losing their tenancies to either maintain their tenancies or find a more suitable home. We have 115 transitional and long-term tenants. 

Similarly, our portfolio of social housing for whānau increased from 18 to 34 homes, 36 households were supported in 20 transitional houses, and Wesley Village increased from 46 to 54 rental units plus Whare Tiaki.

Up to 60 clients at any one time (360 households for the year) were supported in emergency accommodation in motels in Nelson, Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika in the last year, with another 20 in Blenheim. Navigators worked with clients to assist in their housing search, as well as link them to community support. 

In Blenheim, CMM continued to provide transitional housing and support to 45 whānau or individuals at any one time. CMM has leased a number of houses in Blenheim for whānau in transitional housing. Additionally, some 35 Kaewa (clients) have been housed by Housing First Blenheim since the programme began, with a large percentage remaining in their housing. The new Sustaining Tenancies programme has enabled over 25 vulnerable households to keep their houses or find new housing. Thirty properties have been leased by CMM in Blenheim to provide long-term housing for individuals and whānau.

In the coming year, existing needs will expand and new needs will emerge, but one thing is certain: housing will remain a huge issue, leading to more families requiring emergency housing in motels and parents struggling to meet the high costs of essentials such as food and power. Lack of rental properties will remain a concern for Housing First and mental health and addiction services will continue to be a challenge for Kaewa to access. At WesleyCare, the shortage of registered nurses will impact continuity of care, Covid-19 measures will continue to affect residents, families and staff, and the increasing costs of equipment and supplies including PPE are of concern. 

Despite these restrictions, CMM Executive Director Jill Hawkey says the organisation is well-positioned to meet anticipated demands. “We will continue to seek to play our part in the provision of new, affordable homes and we aim to develop new social housing in Blenheim as soon as land can be secured. Staff throughout the organisation will continue to work as hard as possible for the people we serve. CMM will continue to develop new services, as well as provide the long-term services for which we are renowned.”