Another step towards overcoming homelessness.
As the housing sector grapples with challenges relating to housing shortages, there is another issue which has a direct impact on homelessness; the issue of tenancy sustainability.
The answer is the Sustaining Tenancies programme of which VisionWest Community Housing is a provider.
Sustaining Tenancies is a homelessness prevention initiative which aims to assist vulnerable tenants who face the immediate risk of losing their tenancy, usually because of ongoing incidences of anti-social behaviour or may be finding it difficult to adapt to living in their community.
Whatever their background, our aim is always to help whānau sustain their tenancy.
Available for tenants in both the social housing and private rental housing markets, Sustaining Tenancies is for whānau who need practical support to help address any issues that are putting their tenancy at risk. It’s for individuals, families and whānau requiring different levels of service including:
- Tenants who need a low level of support to stay in their home.
- Tenants with complex needs and risk factors, e.g. problems with alcohol and/or drugs, people who require mental health support.
- Vulnerable tenants experiencing multiple risk factors, e.g. they may have been recently released from prison or have a history of family violence.
The key to the success of Sustaining Tenancies is that VisionWest Community Housing provides tenants with a Sustaining Tenancies Support Navigator who works alongside them to help develop workable plans and provide regular support with the aim of sustaining their tenancy.
The support provided depends on each whānau or individual’s needs, but could include:
- Providing support to maintain housing and liaise with landlords regarding any issues related to their tenancies.
- Linking with other support services such as budgeting, counselling, alcohol and drug specialists, employment agencies, education providers, food banks, parenting programmes, etc.
- Help with relationship issues.
- Alcohol and drug dependency relapse prevention.
- Life skills coaching.
- Identifying cultural needs and provide links to services for support.
VisionWest’s involvement with Sustaining Tenancies began in our Canterbury office. Last financial year, 40 whānau were supported to sustain their tenancies, and address issues impacting their rental agreements and their ability to live with dignity. Of those receiving support, 95% have sustained their tenancy as a result.
Our Auckland Community Housing team is now involved also, and we look forward to a similar positive result.