Housing First is coming to Blenheim and the Christchurch Methodist Mission is pleased to be the lead organisation.
Housing First is an internationally-recognised model of housing and wrap-around support that houses people who are long-term homeless, without the need to be sober or drug free. It recognises it is easier for people to address issues, such as mental health problems and addiction, once they are housed. Some 80 percent of people who receive Housing First services internationally retain their housing and do not return to homelessness.
The goal of Housing First Blenheim is straightforward: instances of homelessness will be rare, brief and non-recurring.
Its strength lies in the collaborative approach to providing support to help people stay in their homes and never return to homelessness. Housing First Blenheim is a collaboration between Gateway Housing Trust, St Marks Addiction Centre, Maataa Waka Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust and the Christchurch Methodist Mission. CMM is also the lead organisation in Housing First Christchurch.
Blenheim has a significant housing problem. The Ministry of Social Development’s social housing register records 132 people in Marlborough as urgently needing housing, as of last December. The number of homeless in Marlborough has tripled in the last three years. Of the number of homeless people, just over half need one-bedroom homes, indicating the need for housing for single people.
The Christchurch Methodist Mission already provides emergency housing in Blenheim for families but points to the need to house individuals and the provision of wrap-around support to help them sustain a tenancy.
“We’re already supporting families in Blenheim but single men is the group that needs particular support,” Jill Hawkey, Christchurch Methodist Mission Executive Director says.
“Lack of housing supply in Blenheim and the increase in rent are real problems. It’s clear there is a significant housing crisis in Blenheim. The emergency housing services offered by CMM provide a stop-gap measure. Housing First Blenheim will enable people who are long term homeless to get a warm, affordable, safe house in the near future.”
Housing First Blenheim will also offer broad housing support for those who do not need intensive support to retain their tenancies.
Housing First Blenheim is in the process of appointing staff.
Single men are most prevalent among the homeless of Blenheim. CMM is to lead the Housing First initiative in the town.