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Housing first Auckland: A collective impact approach to ending chronic homelessness in New Zealand’s largest city.

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Parity, 30(8), 25-27

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This article details a collective impact approach to addressing chronic homelessness in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city.

Housing First, a model recognised for its effectiveness in promoting housing stability and improving quality of life, prioritises rapid rehousing followed by community-based support services. In late 2016, in response to escalating homelessness, the New Zealand Government initiated a two-year Housing First demonstration project in Auckland, funding four programs to provide 572 places for individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness. The report emphasises the collaboration among various organisations, including Auckland City Mission, Lifewise, Kāhui Tū Kaha, VisionWest, and LinkPeople, who formed a National Housing First Community of Practice. Insights from the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness conference influenced their decision to adopt a collective impact model for the Auckland project. This model, essential for successful collective initiatives, involves leadership, community engagement, learning, high-leverage activities, shared aspirations, and a backbone organisation to coordinate these efforts. The Collective Impact model’s key components include establishing a shared purpose, strategic learning, and developing shared measurement systems. The Housing First Auckland collective set a goal to make homelessness in Auckland rare, brief, and non-recurring, and established workstreams focusing on frontline practice, Kaupapa Māori, data and evaluation, housing, and communication. The article highlights the collective’s achievements, including training workshops, consistent data collection approaches, and engagement with various stakeholders to advance the goal of ending homelessness. It also outlines the challenges faced and the lessons learned in implementing a collective impact approach, emphasising the importance of building trust and relationships for success. In conclusion, the Housing First Auckland initiative demonstrates a promising model for addressing chronic homelessness through collaborative efforts. The collective’s approach and its focus on shared goals, learning, and evaluation provide valuable insights for other cities grappling with similar challenges.

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