Methodist Mission housing the homeless

The Christchurch City Council provided $130,000 to the Methodist Mission to underwrite the leases on private rentals for homeless people, who weren’t able to secure the rentals themselves.

The Methodist mission has taken the lease on six houses.

The tenants pay rent, but the mission has committed to the landlord to pay any missed rent, and repair any damage.

The Methodist Mission is working with  Christchurch youth service, Youth Cultural Development.(YCD)

YCD works with the young people to provide support.

The mission does this for families.

Four Families now have a home

Methodist Mission director Jill Hawkey said the four families have needed far less intensive support once they were in a stable home.

She said for the families it had largely been an advocacy role.

“What we’ve found with the families we’ve worked with, is often they had a poor credit history, so landlords didn’t want to rent to them.

“And sometime it’s that they may have mental health issues, or just a lack of confidence so they are unable to really go out there and advocate for themselves.”

Finding landlords who were willing to rent to homeless people was also a huge struggle, and Jill Hawkey rang at least 40 before she found someone who would take them on.

Caring for young homeless presents more problems.

Anni Watkin from Youth Cultural Development said for the young people the transition from living in abandoned buildings to managing a home hasn’t been easy.

She said at times the homes have been chaotic, and the young people have had to be taught basics like the need to clean up after themselves, how to be considerate of neighbours, and how to portion out food to last a week.

“They weren’t accustomed to responsibility and routine, and being considerate of others, so there was a lot of learning.”

Watkin said the YCD youth workers helped the young people sign up for unemployment benefits, and to start addressing some of their negative behaviours with daily visits.

“They were living off stealing, begging, prostitution… We supported to them to address synthetic (cannabis) and drug abuse issues, and some of the barriers which were stopping them from moving forward positively.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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