The New Year will see the Christchurch Methodist Mission start a number of exciting initiatives and programmes.
2019 is already shaping up to be a busy year for the Christchurch Methodist Mission (CMM). Last year, our Board urged myself and senior management to be 'radical and brave' in responding to the unmet needs of children, whānau and older people. Whilst our focus and commitment to providing existing core services and programmes has not changed, the Board's encouragement and backing has led CMM to play an even greater role in helping the most vulnerable in our communities.
One initiative that typifies this boldness is Housing First and its ambitious aim to end homelessness in Christchurch by next year. At the time of writing 35 people have been housed. Seeing the success of the programme in Christchurch and other places in NZ, CMM is currently working with Work and Income, local iwi, social organisations and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to bring Housing First to Blenheim. For a town of just over 30,000 people, homelessness is a very big issue. People have been forced to sleep on the streets, in cars or emergency accommodation. If established, Housing First in Blenheim will provide a coordinated response to homelessness and a tangible pathway for people who are homeless to get into a house and receive the wrap-around support they need.
CMM is also responding to the greater need for affordable housing for those over 65 years old by redeveloping 'House 7' in WesleyCare into four apartments. When these apartments are ready later in the year, four more of the 60 people on the Wesley Village waiting list will be housed. As our population ages and home ownership levels continue to decline, the demand from people entering retirement needing affordable rental accommodation will only grow.
A new team within CMM was established at the start of this year. The Wellbeing Team mainly consists of Mana Ake workers and is based in Papanui. CMM has been an integral part of the Mana Ake initiative since it began in March last year and now employs 10 Mana Ake workers and a Practice Lead. Mana Ake will eventually see 80 Kaimahi (workers) based in Canterbury and Kaikoura schools and it is exciting to see significant government investment to provide a coordinated response to the mental health crisis in our region.
A new intensive in-house parent support programme has recently been pioneered by our social services team. This is an alternative to children being taken into care by Oranga Tamariki and sees the team provide support to whānau for up to 40 to 50 hours a week initially to help children remain with their parents. The amount of support provided decreases over time as the parents become better equipped to care for their children.
As the Christchurch Methodist Mission is radical and brave in 2019, please consider how you can partner with us in the year ahead.
Ngā mihi nui,