The Salvation Army has celebrated new steps in helping homeless New Zealanders and families battling addiction in Wellington.
The Army opened two new social housing units in Wellington and two refurbished homes for families seeking addiction help at an event on 25 October attended by Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.
The two social housing units will be used by people on the Ministry of Social Development Social Housing register, a waiting list of people in need of housing support. The other units will provide families a space where the parents can receive addictions treatment and services to help strengthen their parenting. The service is funded by the Capital and Coast District Health Board.
The new social houses are the latest step in a plan to increase The Salvation Army’s housing support in Wellington, Salvation Army Social Housing council chair Lieutenant-Colonel Rod Carey said.
The tenants will be the first Salvation Army clients in Wellington to be supported by the government’s Income-Related Rent Subsidy, which allows the tenant to pay a subsidised rent with the government paying the remainder of the rent to The Salvation Army. That money will be used by the Army to provide wrap-around services to tenants, Rod said.
The Army worked with the government to find a tenant who was in need of social housing and it intends to carry on working with the government to ensure more people in need are supported by the subsidy in Wellington, Rod said. ‘The subsidy is really working for the tenants, bringing down their rent and helping vulnerable people access housing and support they badly need.’
He was grateful for Minister Bennett’s attendance, which recognised the good relationship the Army had working with the Ministry of Social Development on housing solutions.
The minister thanked The Salvation Army for its work housing people and through the Bridge addiction service, which she said had made a huge difference to the lives of people she knew. ‘These houses will be a place where people can get well, keep well and live a fulfilling life. Thank you for the work you put in.’
Commissioner Robert Donaldson also thanked the minister for the government’s support through the rent subsidy and acknowledged other organisations involved in the agreement who attended the opening.
Director of The Salvation Army’s Wellington Bridge programme Cathy Milne-Rodrigues said the service offers an opportunity to parents who have not been able to had addictions treatment because of the need to look after their children. In addition to addictions treatment, the parents have the opportunity to attend parenting programmes and the children are enrolled in a nearby preschool or primary school. Having their children present and seeing them thrive gives parents more determination and commitment to get clean, Cathy said.
‘It allows them to focus on their treatment knowing their children are well supported and gives them the opportunity to work through a treatment programme with parenting support.’