Housing First Auckland provides access to safe and stable long-term housing and wrap-around support to the most vulnerable rough sleepers in New Zealand’s capital. The initiative is made possible through a collective impact approach involving Auckland City Mission, Airedale Property Trust, Kāhui Tū Kaha, Lifewise, LinkPeople, Visionwest and the Wise Group. A core objective of the multi-agency collaboration is to create a socially just and inclusive Aotearoa where all people are well-housed, with the ultimate goal to end homelessness in the Auckland area.
The program was established in 2018, and as of June 2021, Housing First Auckland has assisted over 920 households (1,569 adults and families with children housed) into housing.
Following a scatter-site Housing First model, the program involves the leasing of existing social and private market housing. Herein, Housing First Auckland assume a role of housing facilitator, linking directly with each tenant’s Housing First case worker and being the participating landlord’s point of contact. In some cases, privately-owned properties are leased to a community housing provider in the Housing First collective.
To encourage private landlords to participate in the program, Housing First Auckland guarantees the rent for the length of the tenancy; cover tenant damage on the property beyond fair wear and tear, and provide information about the wrap-around support services.
Private rentals comprise 89 per cent of the 250 dwellings secured in the program as of June 2021. Tenants receive a standard rental agreement, and most contracts are limited to one year and therefore require annual renewal. Housing First Auckland is in the process of securing longer-term leasing arrangements to provide clients with an increased sense of stability while also reducing the https://housingfirstdevelopmentcollection.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/LinkPeople-1-1.jpgistrative workload for the program staff. The initiative uses print and web-based materials to recruit prospective landlords wanting to engage with Housing First, as well as a Smart Landlord system provided by the Link People organisation.
One- and two-bedroom properties remain in high demand, particularly in the inner-city region of Auckland.
Funding is received from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Auckland Council to assist with the support and housing brokerage services delivered by the partnership. Given that the program partners do not own the properties incorporated into Housing First Auckland, the capital costs of housing are absorbed by the private sector.
Property and tenancy management
The tenancies are managed by Airedale Property Trust, the Community Housing organisation largely responsible for the housing element of Housing First Auckland.
Clients are referred to the program through multiple homelessness services. The partnership then works with willing landlords to offer clients the widest possible choice of housing options so they can find something that is appropriately sized and located. A recent evaluation of the Housing First program showed that 70-84 per cent of clients move into housing of their choosing within three months while.
Each tenant is assigned a program case-manager who work alongside an experienced professional team to ensure that each person is receiving the appropriate type of support.
Despite 87 per cent of households supported through Housing First Auckland having sustained their tenancies, the program also includes a rapid re-housing scheme for clients who may have prematurely exited the program/lost their housing. During which time, short-term accommodation is provided while Housing First Auckland secure another suitable property.
Housing First Auckland established a Kaupapa Māori group that led the creation and implementation of a kaupapa Māori framework. Tāiki assumes a Māori-centric position and illustrates the intent of HFA to work collaboratively and cohesively. This framwork includes tangata Māori from each partner organisation. This Māori-centric approach formed a key element of the program that aims to address multiple forms of exclusion, disadvantage and inequity and positions the importance of viewing the framework through a Māori world view.
For further information about Housing First Auckland, please visit: https://www.housingfirst.co.nz/
Additional resources for this profile
Interview with Julie Nelson, Project Lead Housing First Auckland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpobjrczzsg
Housing First Auckland, Briefing for Ministers, February 2021: https://www.housingfirst.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Briefing-for-Ministers-Feb-2021.pdf