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Thursday 17 February 2022

New home of Tāmaki Makaurau opens its doors

HomeGround, the new building of Auckland City Mission – Te Tāpui Atawhai, is now open.  It’s a place of transformation and healing for people in desperate need, while welcoming all Aucklanders through the doors.

HomeGround brings together permanent housing, expanded health and social services, state of the art withdrawal service (detox) facilities and a comprehensive programme of activities in a warm and welcoming space.

“This long held, precious dream is finally a reality,” says Missioner – Manutaki, Helen Robinson.  “For more than a decade, the Mission team and our supporters have been meticulously planning and building HomeGround.”

“To know that we are now open for service is a very special moment for the thousands of people who have helped this building come to life,” she says.  “In the days and years that follow, thousands of people’s lives will be enriched and quite literally transformed.  People who have had traumatic, challenging and truly difficult lives, will now have a permanent home, hot meals, access to health facilities and community spaces in a modern, welcoming, light-filled, fit-for-purpose building.  That’s incredibly humbling.”

HomeGround includes 80 permanent apartment homes for people experiencing homelessness with a shared rooftop garden and residents’ lounge, a community dining room, community spaces, a multi-disciplinary health centre, a pharmacy and addiction withdrawal services (detox).   There are also spaces that will be developed into food and retail outlets for the public.

Of the withdrawal service (detox), Manutaki Robinson notes both social and medical options are available across two floors.   The Mission manages the social option while Waitematā DHB’s Community Alcohol and Drug Services (CADS) manages the medical floor.  In total there are 25 rooms for patients seeking to overcome an addiction.

Manutaki Robinson says that the promise of HomeGround was to create a model of integrated care which instils a sense of dignity and pride to everybody setting step inside the building.   Based on successful international models, HomeGround has been adapated for Aotearoa’s social and cultural needs. Te Aranga and trauma-informed design principles guided the architects and builders, in close consultation with Mission staff.

“The building was designed by Stevens Lawson and built by Built Environs, with care and consideration in every decision for the people who the Mission supports,” says Manutaki Robinson. “It’s also a beautiful addition to our city scape.”

She adds that HomeGround is only possible because of the generosity of people who believed in this dream and gifted funds, products and time.   “This truly is the new home of Tāmaki Makaurau – built for, by and with Aucklanders.   I am so deeply grateful to everyone who has been on this journey with the Mission team and now simply am looking forward to seeing lives transformed through people connecting to services within HomeGround.”

The first day of service was Monday 14 February with residents moving into apartments from Monday 28 February and the medical withdrawal service (detox) beginning in March.