As Aroha spent the year she turned 35 behind bars, her second time in prison, she set some goals for life outside - stay off drugs and leave the streets.
"One goal was to give up drugs, maintain my recovery and the other was to have a place, somewhere comfortable and safe for myself to build my little glory box."
Since spending her first night on the streets at the of age, 11, Aroha had not had a place to call her own.
As a transgender woman, she struggled to gain acceptance from her family. Life on the streets gave her a family, but with this came issues with drugs and tough choices made in order to survive.
But it was a life Aroha did not want to still be living after turning 35.
So when she got out of prison last year, for the first time in her life, she reached out to the social services agency, Lifewise, and asked for a house.
Mid-2017 she was given her own place in a quiet inner-city suburb - one of the first 22 clients the new Housing First Auckland City Centre programme has housed since it was launched in March this year.
The programme, which also has branches in West and South Auckland launched in March this year as a two-year demonstration project to get the 472 chronically homeless in Auckland off the streets.
Lifewise, one of the agencies involved in the programme said across the wider Auckland region about 150 people, including 23 families and 57 children have been rehoused.
It differs from previous programmes as it does more than just give people a roof over their heads - but helps give them the support to stay there, to manage their tenancies, address health needs and achieve goals.
Now that Aroha had her privacy, she was a little reticent to just let the Herald into her new flat.
But when we met her at the Lifewise offices, she described it as being full of her things and a "mean-as" king bed.
Most importantly, "I got a key, a key to a door".
"I lock myself in a house, I don't get locked up, I don't have a curfew."
This privacy and control over who she lets inside is something she clearly treasures after years of being out in the open.
Aroha says having a house also helped her stick to her goals.
"I'm not going to get hooked back into drugs like I used, I can hang out with [my friends on the street] for a short time, then I can go home."
But Aroha is the first to admit that changing how she lived was not simple - she described her first night alone inside as "hideous".
So much so, that she went back onto the streets for the first three days.
"When you have been on the streets for so long...it's hard to leave the streets, there is so much the street has, it is hard to explain."
While many find solace living under a roof, inside four walls, for Aroha her experience for many years had been the opposite.
"I didn't belong at home, I knew there was something that I needed to go and find and explore."
So, at age 11, after years of feeling unaccepted for being transgender, when she found out she had been adopted as a toddler she left for the streets.
"It was on the streets where I found other transgender women like me I could relate to."
The first night was tough.
"I felt confused, I felt lost, I felt so many things. I didn't know anybody."
Aroha found comfort among a group of glue-sniffers - it was they who taught her how to live with nothing.
This first foray onto the streets was short-lived, shortly after her 12th birthday police picked her up from where she was standing on an inner-city street in her summer dress.
But there was no home for her to return to.
"My family didn't want me home and I got placed into a regional youth services home to get corrective training."
She remained in care until she was 18, but frequently returned to the streets and for most of 25 years called the streets home.
"The thing is with the streets they have always been welcoming, but sometimes it can be the worst thing ever. Starving, being hungry is the worst."
To make ends meet, and to support the drug habit she picked up while on the streets, she turned to prostitution.
"You get on drugs, you just end up in some certain situations you never thought you'd get up to at from any age."
She said drugs gave her strength and confidence in herself.
"It gave me that Wonder Woman feeling that I can take on the world and be myself."
Aroha said the streets taught her how to survive with nothing.
"You learn everything when you have stayed on the streets with the girls. Especially when you inherit the family that you always wanted to have, at home."
And while Aroha remains in contact with some of her family and can now understand their reactions a bit more - a sense of hurt and the need for full acceptance remains.
"I just went to my mum's funeral a couple of months ago, I sort of kept in contact with her on and off. So I didn't get to say the things I wanted to say.
"I wanted to say 'I love you' and ask are you proud of me?"
She still wishes she could have heard her mother say she was proud of how she had turned her life around.
"I am drug-free, I have got a place. I am settled, and I always have something to occupy my every-day living."
Housing First facts
Launched March 2017
Housed around 150 people
23 families and 57 children given a home
Housing First Auckland Central
22 clients have a new house
Average time spent homeless prior to Housing First: 16 years
Average age: 45.5 years
Auckland City Mission and Lifewise work in partnership to carry out the programme in the city centre