In New Zealand, “homelessness” is defined as: “A living situation where people with no other options to acquire safe and secure housing are: without shelter, in temporary accommodation, sharing accommodation with a household, or living in uninhabitable housing.” – Statistics NZ New Zealand definition of homelessness: update
There are many reasons why people become homeless and the issue is very complex. Some homeless people are living with mental illness and/or addictions, while others are not. However, homelessness is frequently a result of being socially, emotionally and physically isolated from networks that many of us take for granted.
Homelessness takes many forms, but the most visible are rough sleepers – those sleeping on footpaths, in empty buildings, doorways and car parks.
The Mission’s Homeless Services
The Mission is one of the few remaining social service providers in Auckland’s inner city and one of our key focus areas is the support of those who are homeless, especially those sleeping rough on Auckland’s inner-city streets.
This is the most extreme end of homelessness and Mission staff work intensively with this vulnerable group. Staff provide hospitality, support, social interaction and skills development, along with meeting physical needs and addressing long-term issues such as housing, physical and mental health concerns and financial issues.
When you’re on the streets, it’s a daily survival thing – you know, hour by hour where you don’t know what’s going to happen…[The Mission] have helped me with clothing and food. This has almost become my family, in a sense. Now I’m a Homeless Committee member as well.
Mission staff actively engage and work with other agencies and support providers to reduce duplication of services and ensure the best possible outcomes for homeless clients. This inter-agency cooperation and communication is vital if Auckland is to achieve its goal to end rough sleeping.
To find out more about the Mission’s Homeless Outreach & Support Services, please visit the following pages: