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Working together to connect communities

9 December 2019

Not having a home is an issue that affects the mental health and wellbeing of people and communities.

The People’s Project has a track record of partnering and working with others to achieve the best outcomes for people, and Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities (formerly Housing New Zealand) is one of our governance group partners.

In 2017, Kāinga Ora approached The People’s Project in Hamilton with a proposal.  Kāinga Ora would provide a small number of dedicated properties across several inner-city locations, mostly in areas of already-established high-density public housing, to be tenanted by The People’s Project’s clients.

Tony Oliver, senior tenancy manager at Kāinga Ora said there was a risk that moving new people into these streets could have a destabilising effect on the wider community surrounding the properties, and that the new tenants may not be accepted into the community.

“However, two-years on, because the Housing First model includes the provision of ongoing, intensive in-home support, which has been effectively and relentlessly provided by The People’s Project, the outcome is that these people are living well, with dignity and stability, in what are becoming increasingly connected communities,” Tony said.

Kerry Hawkes, service manager for The People’s Project, said managing the tenancies hasn’t been without difficulties, but obstacles have been overcome due to the unwavering support of the Hamilton Kāinga Ora team.

“Where tenancies haven’t been successful, and most have been successful, we’ve cleaned out properties to their original condition, found new tenants and done everything from help people manage unwanted guests, to building fences and gates, to mowing lawns,” Kerry said.

She said people need stability to build a kāinga (home) and well-maintained properties help people feel a sense of pride.

Because of The People’s Project’s focused, collaborative and holistic approach to tenant support, Tony said the wider community has accepted the change and people who were formerly homeless are now participating members of a community living in an environment where they feel safe and secure.

“Significantly, feedback from the immediate community suggests that acceptance, including empathy-based caring and consideration between tenants old and new, has developed and this has helped strengthen the entire community’s level of resilience,” Tony said.

Following the success of the original six-property pilot in 2017, today The People’s Project Hamilton team intensively supports people in 17 Kāinga Ora properties across the city.