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Post-housing first outcomes amongst a cohort of formerly homeless youth in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 53(5), 656-672

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This research provides insights into the complex issue of youth homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand and the effectiveness of the Housing First approach as an intervention.

By utilising linked administrative data, the authors offer a comprehensive analysis of the patterns of government service usage among a cohort of formerly homeless youth, demonstrating the profound impact stable housing can have on various aspects of their wellbeing. The study’s focus on a population with high representation of Māori youth adds critical depth to the understanding of how indigenous populations are disproportionately affected by homelessness and how targeted interventions can mitigate these disparities. The findings reveal a promising decrease in healthcare utilisation and an increase in income levels post-housing, suggesting that Housing First not only provides shelter but also contributes to broader socioeconomic and health improvements. However, the study also notes that despite these positive outcomes, the youth in the cohort continue to live in poverty, indicating the need for further support and policy reforms to address systemic issues underlying homelessness. This paper contributes significantly to the body of research on homelessness interventions in Aotearoa, providing evidence to support the expansion and enhancement of Housing First programs. It also calls for further research to understand the long-term outcomes of such interventions and the additional supports needed to ensure the wellbeing of young people transitioning out of homelessness.

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