If any of the Labour Government's $100 million investment in tackling homelessness ends up in Rotorua, offers of houses, services and collaboration have come in as options for the money.

Of the $100m promised by the Government, $37m will go into providing 1500 shorter-term houses, which should be in place by the end of winter.

The other $63m will be used to significantly ramp up the Housing First Programme, which is a longer-term solution and targets the most vulnerable families in the country.

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Whether any of that money is invested locally will be determined in today's Budget announcement.

Housing First is based on the idea that people should be placed straight into permanent housing, rather than emergency shelters, before any other issues such as addiction or mental health are addressed.

Love Soup Rotorua's Elmer Peiffer said if there was money available for Rotorua it would be best spent on getting the homeless into homes.

"I know they are building 190 homes at Ngongotaha which will be all well and good for people who are able to come up with a deposit, but that doesn't help people living on the street," Peiffer said.

He said it would be great to see some sort of housing development built for potential investors with a contractual obligation to make the homes rental properties.

"I believe something like that would be of benefit. There needs to be something put in place that would eliminate the homeless problem as quickly as possible."

ROTORUA DAILY POST
17 May, 2018 4:13am
3 minutes to read

The second resource he would like to see funding put toward was an after-hours organisation to check up on Rotorua's homeless.

"To simply see if there is anything they need. If they need a hot drink, to get them a hot drink. Or if they need help with something else, for someone to be available.

"Many of the organisations working with the homeless close at 5pm and do not work weekends."

Lifewise Rotorua service manager Haehaetu Barrett said there were a lot of complex issues that needed to be looked at, not simply that people were rough sleeping.

"Lifewise works within the parameters of mental health and addiction and there are people who we interact with that have experienced rough sleeping. If funding was available I would like to see it spent on prevention and intervention before people with mental health and/or addiction issues get to that point."

Additionally, and as part of the Rotorua Homelessness Governance Group, Barrett said if the Government were to invest in Rotorua, collaboration was the key.

"We need to ensure organisations working with people who are homeless or rough sleeping, are working together and not in isolation."

Rotorua Salvation Army officer Ralph Overbye said the main thing he saw was a need for accommodation.

"That is what we are seeing among families. There aren't enough social or affordable houses for these families.

"We have seen an increase in the last year of families coming to us because they don't have anywhere else to go."