Church helping homeless with mental health problems

homeless

An Auckland church providing housing for the homeless for more than a decade has had an influx of people dealing with poor mental health.

Faith Family Baptist Church in Panmure offers a 13-week programme to rehouse people in need.

Numeracy and literacy classes and assistance with addiction and health were also included.

Church kaumātua Tom Ngapera said they had been putting a roof over people’s heads for a while.

“We’ve been focusing on housing since 2005 but only on a small scale.

“But now, it’s going to be here for a while ’til anybody gets their act together and start putting houses out there so that these people can get there.”

About 15 people stay at the church and its buildings at any given time and tenants pay $200 a week for board, power and water.

Senior pastor Carla Perese said most people who came through ended up staying longer than 13 weeks but the church’s aim is to provide transitional housing.

Housing coordinator Jason Tai said in recent months a lot of people had arrived with mental health problems.

That made it difficult to find out basic information.

“A lot of them don’t even have identification, they don’t have a bank account, they don’t have driver licences, 18-plus cards, anything like that.”

Mr Tai said knowing how to communicate and support people struggling with their mental health could be tough.

“Not [being] professional social workers or anything like that, we engage with the people, we track them and we try and make the best decisions from there so sometimes it [can be] challenging.”

It was about balancing their care with others also staying at the church.

Source

News category: New Zealand.

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