Ready to Rent
Ready to Rent, the rental support programme organised by Rotorua Community Ministries, is working to lift their community out of challenging housing situations.
Many people in the area face complicated social issues that find them struggling to secure and maintain tenancies, so Ready to Rent centres around education and gaining skills to help with this.
The programme runs for six weeks, with one weekly session between two and three hours long. Sessions are facilitated by representatives from the 18 specialist agencies, including WERA Aotearoa Charitable Trust, Sustainability Options, LinkPeople, Westpac Bank, Problem Gambling Association, Housing First, and Whānau Ora.
‘One of the main goals is obviously that they achieve housing from that, but also, that they tackle a lot of the social barriers that are either preventing them from getting into housing or ending them back up into emergency housing,’ explains Danielle Porteous, Transitional Housing Social Support Worker.
In most cases, those in need of rental and housingbased support have other factors that need tending to as well. Ready to Rent opens opportunities for participants to engage with the programme as a wraparound service—where people can find additional support for counselling, addiction management, financial mentoring and interact with the Positive Lifestyle Programme. This is made possible through the generous support of donors towards these services.
One young couple from the programme had their first baby due in October 2020. They had been sleeping rough in the thermal areas of Rotorua, before moving into a motel during the lockdown period. Their Ministry of Social Development case manager referred them for Ready to Rent. Because of their dedication to change and the support they received in the programme, they graduated the course and were able to connect with Housing First, and are now renting their own home.
Danielle feels that the collaboration of the different specialist agencies allows for a lower barrier of entry for participants to ask for help in the future. When those taking part can attend sessions run by different groups, or can learn alongside people from supporting organisations, it ‘shows that they’re human’ and takes away some of the shame for people.
‘A lot of the reasons people are homeless here are because of the social issues that are in the way, so it’s a really good opportunity to make good transformation with people—not just in housing but in personal journeys.’
Although we receive government funding for some of the services for those in the Ready to Rent programme, much of the support needed to upskill and empower those struggling in difficult rental situations depends on the generosity of compassionate people like you.