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New Zealand

New South Auckland housing for families in 'crisis'

Newshub logoNewshub 9/10/2019 Vita Molyneux
Watch: A new homeless shelter is poised to open in Auckland. © Video - The AM Show ; Image - Newshub. Watch: A new homeless shelter is poised to open in Auckland.

Thirty new homes have been built in South Auckland to provide temporary housing for people in need.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will cut the ribbon on the two-bedroom units in Mangere on Thursday.

Built by the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, the complex will provide housing for up to three months while the Trust works to find permanent housing for those in need.

"There is such a huge need in Auckland for safe, warm, dry housing that families can actually afford," said Monte Cecilia chief executive Bernie Smith on Thursday.

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"Once they're living in these units we'll be able to give them some practical assistance to help them out of the crisis situation they're in."

Smith says 11 families have already moved in with many more knocking on the doors.

In the past 12 months more than 1600 children and their families received help from the trust.

As well as the housing in Mangere, a new homeless shelter is poised to open in Auckland. The Nest will become Auckland's first overnight homeless shelter to give people a safe place to stay.

Aiming to open early in 2020 the shelter will be able to house just under 100 people. 

Organiser and barrister Jo Wickcliffe says the need for the shelter  is "massive."

"It's massive, especially in Auckland and it's increasing all the time," she told The AM Show on Thursday.

"These are the people who can't get on their own feet, they're chronically homeless."

Wickcliffe wants to give homeless people a safe place to sleep at night.

But The Nest needs $2.5 million to open the doors, and keep it running for the next two years.

"It's the startup phase people don't want to put money into," she told The AM Show on Thursday.

The announcements coincide with World Homeless Day.  

In Auckland's Freyberg Square the cities Rough Sleepers Initiative will host a range of activities to raise awareness about homelessness and the effect it has.

The average life expectancy for someone experiencing chronic homelessness is just 55 years  more than 20 years younger than the average Kiwi.

"People suffer poor sleep, and inadequate diet, difficultly with personal hygiene and difficultly following most treatment regimes," said Dr Richard Davis at Auckland City Mission's medical centre.

"Medications often get lost, stolen or damaged. Plaster casts get wet and soggy, dressings get dirty," he said.

When a homeless person is housed, it is a good opportunity to enroll with a GP and address their health issues, says Lisa Roberts from Housing First.

"Our health systems are designed for people who can come to an appointment on a certain day at a certain time, not for people who are in survival mode, for whom health care can seem like an impossible luxury."

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