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Housing Northland’s homeless: From crisis to confidence

Author Category Source

Parity, 30(8), 49

Published Year Read Publication

Whale, the Executive Officer of Tai Tokerau Emergency Housing Charitable Trust (TTEHCT), details the evolution and challenges of providing emergency housing in Whangarei, New Zealand, in this insightful article.

Established in 2006 by a collective of local churches, the TTEHCT was a response to a critical need for emergency housing identified through community-led research. By 2016, the Trust had expanded its capacity to house 56 people at a time across various properties. However, Whale articulates a pressing issue: the increasing demand for emergency housing, which has far outstripped the Trust’s capacity. The article underscores the multiple factors contributing to this rising demand, including an influx of people relocating from Auckland, escalating rental costs, and a decrease in rental properties due to new homeowners displacing tenants. Whale paints a vivid picture of the complex and individualised reasons behind homelessness, ranging from lack of tenancy experience to personal challenges like addiction. TTEHCT’s approach goes beyond providing shelter; it aims to address the holistic well-being of its residents. The introduction of an in-house social worker has led to notable improvements, including an increase in tenants transitioning to private housing and a decrease in repeat service use. Whale emphasises that homelessness is a solvable issue, advocating for a collective, community-driven approach where housing for all is a universal goal.

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