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$2 million boost to housing for homeless

Published: 22 September 2016
James Liston Hostel, Freeman's Bay

Auckland Council’s Finance and Performance Committee on 22 September approved funding of $2 million to the James Liston Hostel in the Auckland CBD to enhance the quality and quantity of emergency housing for rough sleepers and homeless people.

The funding will come from the City Centre Targeted Rate, with the full support of the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board.

James Liston Hostel will use the funds to increase capacity by five new beds to a total of 40 beds, allow for the provision of specialised rapid intake rooms, additional meeting and activity rooms and much needed renovations to the building itself.

Raising well-being and dignity 

Graham Bodman, General Manager Arts, Community and Events at Auckland Council, says the decision is a great outcome for the homelessness sector in the city centre, but most importantly for people experiencing homelessness.

“The James Liston Hostel provides the only emergency accommodation in the city centre and is an essential service for some of our most vulnerable citizens. The funding was identified as a practical pathway to help address Auckland’s rough sleeping challenge and, importantly, to help raise the health, well-being and dignity of Aucklanders experiencing homelessness,” says Mr Bodman.

Win for Housing First model

Alongside a new operating model, the funding enables the potential for the hostel to transition approximately 238 people into permanent accommodation over the next two years through the hostel’s Housing First model. The model seeks to move clients through the hostel and into more permanent accommodation via a 12-week in-house support programme, followed by tenancy sustainment services.

James Liston Hostel board chairperson Dame Diane Robertson says that without this funding the hostel would be unable to continue to help homeless people and rough sleepers transition to permanent housing.

“At this point in time, the hostel’s ability to sustain positive outcomes for our clients is severely impacted by the current condition and capacity of our accommodation. So this investment is going to help us directly address these issues. More beds, better conditions and a more therapeutic setting will help us move people more quickly through our housing-first model, and with better results,” says Dame Diane Robertson.

“We will be able to make the improvements with no impact on existing beds or service delivery during construction.”

Latest figures

In May this year the annual Auckland City Mission street count found 228 people sleeping rough within a 3km radius of the Sky Tower, up from 147 people recorded in October 2014.

The enhancement of services provided by the James Liston Hostel through this funding is supported by the Auckland homelessness sector, including the Auckland City Mission and Lifewise, alongside the Ministry of Social Housing and Housing New Zealand.