A Government programme for the "chronically homeless" is coming to Tauranga but those already at the coalface are questioning what is new.

Budget 2017 promised $16.5m to expand a Housing First programme into areas of high need across the country.

Yesterday, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams announced that Tauranga would be one of them.

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"We don't want anyone living on the street and the expansion of Housing First will provide help for up to 500 more high-need individuals into permanent housing and address the root causes of their homelessness through the provision of targeted, one-on-one wraparound services."

Tauranga would initially get funding for up to 100 of those 500 places.

"These locations have been identified based on the estimates of demand in those locations and the likelihood of suitable providers being available," Ms Adams said.

She told the Bay of Plenty Times the programme provided a different approach to what was operating in the homelessness sector in Tauranga.

"We know it is very successful in taking them off the street and we know that it is quite different to what's provided through men's shelters and the like, because it is about far more than just the housing..."

Many of New Zealand's chronically homeless were grappling with complex problems, such as mental health issues or addictions, she said.

Contracted providers will work with individual cases to find housing for them, "that housing can either be existing social housing or it can be in the private market".

"So we're not going out and building specific accommodation blocks for these people."


Tauranga Moana Night Shelter Trust chairwoman Vicki Scott said it was a misconception that night shelters did not deliver wraparound support and social services to address the underlying causes of homelessness.

"It is great that the Government now recognises the value of the Housing First model that we have already been delivering for the last three years.

"This is exactly what we undertake at the shelter every day and we welcome Government financial support to continue the delivery of these services."

Bay of Plenty and National MP Todd Muller said a huge amount of credit needed to go to the local community groups who worked tirelessly to help solve a "complex social issue".

"Their advocacy has been instrumental in seeing Tauranga identified as a priority area."

Tauranga City Council manager of community development Meagan Holmes said homelessness was complex and needed a whole community response to address it.

"Tauranga is well on the way to achieving that level of response.

"Council, as one of many stakeholders, is pleased to see Tauranga recognised as a priority area for funding as announced by the Minister today."

She said the Housing First model had been successful in addressing homelessness in New Zealand and offshore.

"This is recognition of the collaborative work of key parties in Tauranga, including community organisations, Council and government agencies, to ensure that Central Government was aware of the issues and need in the city."

By the numbers

- Auckland will get an additional 100 places on top of the 472 already provided for.

- Christchurch will get up to 100 places.

- Wellington (including Lower Hutt) will get up to 150 places.

- Tauranga will get up to 100 places.

- The Government will also be providing funding of $500,000 over two years for The People's Project in Hamilton, "so they can continue their successful Housing First work in the city".

Source: Social Housing Minister Amy Adams