On Thursday 26 February, Wellington will host the annual conference of the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness, with representatives from central and local government and a wide range of organisations which deliver homelessness services. The event aims to showcase best practice responses to homelessness, and attendees will explore solutions to sustainably end homelessness and achieve real social change.
Helping those in need
Wellington is leading New Zealand with its groundbreaking approach to the reduction and prevention of homelessness through a collective framework called Te Mahana (the warmth of the home). Te Mahana is a coalition of social services, government agencies and other service providers across Wellington city who are working towards the eradication of homelessness. Te Mahana is a concept that speaks of the warmth found in a supportive home environment, and the strategy has at its heart a bi-cultural framework.
Introducing the Wellington Street Outreach Team
Twelve of the organisations involved in Te Mahana have initiated daily outreach walks (6 days a week) around Wellington streets, to check in with the street community especially those who are begging, rough sleeping or where there is concern about an individual’s wellbeing. The purpose of the Street Outreach Team is to build trusting relationships with the street community that encourages connections to be made to appropriate services that enable people to achieve a safer and more supportive living environment. The team also interact with the local business community, providing them with information and advice on how to respond. The Street Outreach initiative has also delivered on one of Te Mahana’s objectives in strengthening collaborative working relations between organisations.
This is focused community action with results. One of our WCC Local Hosts, who are Street Outreach Team members, has recently noted recent positive outcomes: two individuals who had regular street visits with the outreach team last year, are now in homes and regular jobs.
If you encounter someone you believe to be rough sleeping, in need of advice or assistance from homeless services/organisations in the city, ring the council and ask for a referral to be made to the Street Outreach Team.