A Tauranga trust which already provides emergency accommodation for 110 families has unveiled aspirations for a multimillion-dollar village for the homeless.
Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services executive director Tommy Wilson said the trust was looking to partner with local iwi or Māori organisations with land available for the village.
The village would have a kohanga reo (early childhood centre), a garden, a wānanga (place to learn) which would include learning life-skills as well as skills to get people into jobs.
The village would also include an in-house hauora (health and wellbeing) service.
Having all the trust's clients in one spot would take the load off staff who currently spend a large amount of time driving around from place to place, Wilson said.
"We could be so much more streamlined and more effective in dealing with issues that homeless and emergency housing people are facing."
According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, there were 560 people on the housing register in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty in December.
And Wilson believes the crisis is likely to get worse.
"Rather than wait until we enter an extreme crisis where we start to ghettoize Tauranga Moana, we want to put together what we're calling Whare Awhi - a homeless village."
Wilson said Whare Awhi would be the same model as retirement villages, with a panel of advisors including developers with experience in retirement villages in Tauranga.
The first lot of units is expected to cost $6 million and Wilson hoped they would have the first clients in within the next three years.
Stage 2 would see Whare Awhi grow to 100 units and is expected to cost $24m.
It would be long-term accommodation with a papakāinga ethos.
"Basically, in a papakāinga, the residents look after each other."
The trust currently has 110 families on its books and all the current housing it provides is emergency housing across three motels, 24 properties, and Tauranga's Returned Services Association.
The organisation works as a wrap-around service to move clients into longer-term housing.
Down the track, they planned to introduce a rent-to-buy model with some of their accommodation.
"If people can see that there's the faintest bit of hope that they can own their own whare, that will create a pathway out of the housing crisis ... We have to give them hope."
Wilson said he believed this was the first step in breaking the layers of intergenerational poverty and dependence on the welfare system.
"Right now, there is no hope. What little hope there was has been swallowed up by Covid and those that are doing really well out of making money out of houses."
He said the need was apparent with the city's population booming post-Covid, taking up available housing the trust would have hoped to transition its emergency housing clients to.
Wilson said it had already had conversations with current funders in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and was discussing with other Government agencies how they might be able to support the initiative.
A ministry spokeswoman said the trust was paid $1.05m between April last year and the end of March was $1.05 million.
She said the ministry was always interested in discussing proposals and working in a place-based way with local providers to reduce homelessness.
The ministry uses a strategic partnering model to guide how it partners with other agencies and housing providers to meet demand.
The spokeswoman said this would steer the aim to increase the housing supply, provide services to help find and sustain suitable housing, and build better lives.
There are a range of way of ways community housing providers, Māori, iwi and private investors can partner with the ministry to create a full homelessness response.
Partnering with the ministry to deliver housing supply and services involves a two-stage gateway process, with details on the ministry's website.