It was World Homeless Day on 10 October so we joined the Rough Sleepers Collective, Whangarei at Canopy Bridge in the Town Basin to help raise awareness of the issue in our region.
The 155 Whare Āwhina team was present to highlight the many taitamariki in Taitokerau facing homelessness, and provide information on our housing services.
The need for a night shelter in Whangārei is topical and we support those advocating for one to be established independently and separate to our 155 Open Arms day centre.
What we know about youth homelessness
We did research with young people in 2022, and we know that:
Youth in Whangārei experience homelessness. Their experiences range from sleeping rough, couch surfing, to living in substandard housing.
Access to income is often limited. Many young people have no access to funding.
Affordable housing is an issue for young people.
Young people are discriminated against when trying to access housing. Services often turn them away and/or say we can’t help.
Young people feel judged by services.
Causes of youth homelessness include:
Violence in the home or relationship
Family/Youth mental health
Family/Youth substance use
Solutions identified by young people to reduce youth homelessness include:
Provide housing for young people, don’t discriminate.
Improve service responsiveness so young people can access services for help.
Allow young people to make decisions for themselves, but support them.
How 155 Whare Āwhina is supporting homeless rangitahi
We have a youth-specific Kaiarahi working with young people to support their housing needs, and have been able to support and house a small number of young people.
We will soon be recruiting two Kaiwhakatere (navigators) to work with young people from a youth-centric space in town.
We continue to investigate housing options with government and private homeowners.