Homelessness created by systems

The nightshelter wants $100,000 to continue keeping men off the street.

A givealittle page has been opened by the Tauranga Moana Nightshelter to help raise $100,000 to build ten studio apartments on the Elizabeth Street site.

The transitional apartments provide independence for men at the shelter while they are still able to access the shelter's support. The units will also free up 10 beds within the shelter.

The nightshelter must raise $100,000.00 to kick start the project which has a total build cost of $410,000.00. The remaining $310,000.00 required will be sought through application to BayTrust for a low interest loan.

Shelter manager Annamarie Angus also asked Tauranga city Council for the $100,000 when she spoke to the council Community and Culture Committee earlier this week.

“We are acutely aware that this initiative needs to happen now. Members of our community who are vulnerable are sleeping on the street and we want to help them,” says Annamarie.

While the nightshelter is successful, and is rehabilitating about 45 men off the streets every year, it is missing out on government support.

“We were excited to learn that Government is allocating millions of dollars across the country to address the growing numbers of homeless people and to provide housing,” says Annamarie.

They thought they would be included in the initiative, but no.

“Like our clients, TMNT is not seen as a priority and does not fit any pre-determined criteria.”

The shelter is at capacity and there are reports of more than 50 rough sleepers in Tauranga.

“We spend our day working tirelessly on the front line, the work is intensive and never ending. We do not have the resourcing or time to continually jump through hoops to raise funds only to find we don't meet criteria,” says Annamarie.

The reality is government local and central, the ministries; health, justice and social must support the shelter and its services to continue achieving the proven outcomes for its complex group.

“We are tired and frustrated from being directed to, and navigating, complex application processes to gain contracts only to be rebuffed, while at the same time answering the phones to those same government departments and ministries referring these hard to reach people to our doors.”

The homeless men who end up on the streets are there because of system failures. She used a client she named Steve as an example.

Having suffered a head injury and loss of movement in his arm, Steve was receiving ACC payments which sustained him and his young family for a time. Steve also suffered from depression from the loss of work and mobility.

ACC payments ceased and he was transferred to a work and income job seeker benefit. The head injury, loss of movement in his arm and depression resulted in Steve being unable to meet his obligations with the benefit type and it was cancelled.

Steve couldn't pay rent, he lost his home his young family and lived on the streets for seven years. He took up drinking and drug taking and aligned himself with the street family.

He was known to the hospital emergency department, police, and work and income. He was assessed after arriving at the shelter in 2014 and found to have a cognitive disability from drinking alcohol, and he was approved for supported living payments.

He's now permanently housed in supported accommodation and reunited with his family.

“Steve's story highlights where our systems fail the most vulnerable people in our community,” says Annamarie. “It is clear that services are tasked with removing people from their caseloads, damn the consequences. The consequences for this man, as it is for many of our men, were dire and ultimately, significantly more costly in the long term.”

While every account is different, what is the same in every story is that in all cases these men have presented to services many times over the years, says Annamarie.

“The services failed them, they were hard to navigate, and they looked for reasons why this person did not meet their criteria. Services come with a mandate to address a particular area of concern. Our people's lives are in turmoil, every facet of their lives is an area of concern.”

The men the nightshelter deals with are those seen rough sleeping and begging on our Tauranga city streets. They are well known to the police, to Work and Income, to Emergency Department, to Mental Health and Addiction services to the courts and corrections.

“They bring with them unresolved trauma, mental health and addiction issues, criminal behaviours, phenomenal debt, and appalling tenancy histories,” says Annamarie. “They are the people who have burned many bridges, who are non-compliant and continue to be brought to the attention of the media, front line police officers, to the Council and to hospital services.”



6 Comments

@ Loopy101

Posted on 16-12-2017 16:48 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Correct, most fall into the "self inflicted" category, ... bad adult decisions for sure and then expect any/all others to waste time/money atempting to help those who dont and chose not to help themselves.

Steve's case.

Posted on 16-12-2017 16:43 | By Bruja

There will always be those who fail because they CHOOSE to be irresponsible. There are MANY, MANY more who fail through complex circumstances that they have NOT CHOSEN. The 'many, many more' are now 'on the streets/have failed etc BECAUSE governments, in particular the previous government, have removed the resources and personnel who used to house, feed, and care for these poor human beings. For example, it was decided that to save money, quite a number of our citizens with complex mental health issues would be 'integrated' into normal society for their 'OWN WELL-BEING'. It was not for their well-being at all, it was to save money and those unfortunate people were literally dumped, with no 'support', into society. We are ALL now bearing the cost both financially and otherwise. At least we FINALLY have a government who care. They have SO much to 'fix' sadly.

Avr

Posted on 16-12-2017 15:23 | By Anton

Thanks to National we do have a housing crisis, to let more people in the country then we built houses for. Average household is now paying a $ 200.000 higher mortgage then necessary,due to shortages of houses, and not controlling where immigrants go, there should be a ban to go to Auckland as immigrant ,like it was 60 years ago.

Not correct

Posted on 16-12-2017 12:57 | By Loopy101

Not all have ended up homeless because of the systems, what about the ones that lost there jobs and homes cause they chose drugs over paying rent?

End result

Posted on 16-12-2017 12:34 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Adults making bad decisions and in end result they are exited left as the behaviour is bad and unacceptable. They need to get their head around that, why should citizens have to put up with this kind of bad behaviour and (for example as a landlord) the last thing you want is some bad artz in a house, rent not paid, attitude and distruction. Then get the blame for it all.

Steve's case

Posted on 16-12-2017 12:31 | By MISS ADVENTURE

So he is fall out from ACC failing to complete their job and so hes dumped out and abadooned, is that a reasonable conclusion from what is stated here as being the case.

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