Ending homelessness in New Zealand: Housing First

Over 6000 people are without any accommodation every night in New Zealand and over 40,000 lack safe secure accommodation. The consequences of homelessness exact a high cost to this country both in economic and human terms.¬†Based on robust international evidence, a ‘Housing First’ approach has been shown to provide the best environment for addressing the often complex needs of hard to reach groups. In this innovative programme, housing is unconditional. It is not ‘earned’ by compliance, rather it is a ‘right’; treatments are made available but uptake is voluntary. This approach shifts service engagement from a forced chore, to a self-rewarding pathway. It is a paradigm shift that maximises the benefits from modern engagement services. Security of tenure provides the stability that enables participants to contribute positively to their community, society and the economy, with rising incomes and higher quality of life a common outcome across Housing First studies. The success of the Housing First approach has displaced long held assumptions about people who have complex needs, reaffirmed the importance of housing, and helped to consolidate the link between evidence and practice.

This five year research programme, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, will evaluate the implementation of ‘Housing First’ in New Zealand.¬†

For more information, please contact Jenny Ombler