How it works 

Housing First recognises that it’s easier for people to deal with complex issues, such as mental health and addiction, if they have a stable place to live. Once people are in stable housing, they're provided with ongoing support to help them deal with any underlying complex issues that may have led to their homelessness. The aim is to help them stay housed and achieve their goals.  

Support service providers find warm, safe housing that fits the needs of the individual, family or whānau — whether that’s a private rental, public housing or supported living. Service providers then help manage the tenancy and property.  

Providing tailored support is a team effort. Service providers work with property agents and private landlords, councils and Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities.  

Who is Housing First for?

Housing First is for individuals, families and whānau who:  

  • have been sleeping rough, or in other places not designed for habitation (e.g. in cars or unconverted garages) for at least 12 months over the past three years 
  • have high or complex support needs  
  • need intensive ongoing support services to help them stay housed. 

There are no conditions people need to meet, such as sobriety or mental health treatment, to qualify for Housing First support.  

The Rapid Rehousing programme is available for people who don't meet Housing First eligibility criteria, e.g. they've been experiencing homelessness for less than 12 months and have low-to-medium support needs.

See more about Rapid Rehousing. 

Accessing Housing First  

Housing First support service providers reach out to people experiencing homelessness, particularly people experiencing street homelessness or rough sleeping.  

Frontline health, mental health, income support, police, education, probation, iwi and community services can also make referrals to Housing First support services.  

Location of Housing First support services 

Mid-Far North

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Hau Kāinga - Kāinga Whenua

 

He Korowai Trust(external link)

Kaitaia

Whangārei

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Kāinga Pūmanawa

Kāhui Tū Kaha(external link)

Whangārei

 

Ngāti Hine Health Trust(external link)

Whangārei

 

One Double Five Whare Awhina Community House Trust(external link)

Whangārei

Auckland

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Housing First Auckland

Auckland City Mission(external link)

Central Auckland

 

Kāhui Tū Kaha(external link)

Central and West Auckland

 

Lifewise(external link)

Central Auckland

 

LinkPeople(external link)

South Auckland

 

VisionWest(external link)

West Auckland

Hamilton

 

Service

Providers

Locations

The People’s Project Hamilton

The People’s Project(external link)

Hamilton

Tauranga

 

Service

Providers

Locations

The People’s Project Tauranga

The People’s Project(external link)

Tauranga

Rotorua

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Mangatakitahi

Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Iho Ake(external link)

Rotorua

Hawke's Bay

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Housing First Hawkes Bay

Whatever It Takes Charitable Trust(external link)

Napier

Wellington

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Aro Mai - Housing First Collaboration Wellington(external link)

DCM(external link)

Wellington

Kahungunu Whānau Services

Kahungunu Whānau Services(external link)

Wellington and Hutt Valley

Nelson

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Housing First Nelson

The Salvation Army(external link)

Nelson

Blenheim

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Housing First Blenheim

Christchurch Methodist Mission(external link)

Blenheim

Christchurch

 

Service

Providers

Locations

Te Waipounamu CHP Network

Christchurch Methodist Mission(external link)

Christchurch

Housing First values and principles 

Housing First is an international model based on five core principles. In New Zealand, Housing First is also guided by three Māori values. 

The Māori values guiding Housing First in New Zealand are :  

  • rangatiratanga (self-determination) 
  • whānaungatanga (positive connections)  
  • manaakitanga (self-worth and empowerment). 

Housing First's five core principles are: 

1. Immediate access to housing with no readiness conditions 

Housing is offered without any conditions. People just need to be willing to engage with support services and want to be housed. 

2. Consumer choice and self-determination 

People have choices about the housing and support that’s right for them. However, their choice of housing might be restricted by cost and availability. 

3. Individualised and person-centred support 

Support is tailored to each person’s needs and goals and is given for as long they need it. 

4. Harm reduction and recovery 

People are supported to make positive steps towards wellbeing and reducing harmful behaviours. 

5. Social and community integration 

People are encouraged and supported to be part of their communities and connect with whānau, support networks, social activities, education and work. 

MAIHI and Housing First 

Māori are disproportionately affected by the housing crisis. Te MAIHI o te Whare Māori - Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation (MAIHI) is a framework and strategy, created by HUD in partnership with Māori, to reset the housing system so it delivers better solutions for Māori.  

MAIHI’s vision is that all whanau have : 

  • access to warm, dry and safe homes, with the security of being able to stay in them for as long as is appropriate for their circumstances 
  • connections to the services they need to be able to sustain their housing 
  • opportunities to fully participate in their communities.  

Housing First falls under one of MAIHI’s key workstreams, which is responding quickly to the immediate and urgent needs of whanau who are experiencing homelessness and housing stress. 

Read more about MAIHI 

Related Documents 

Housing First around New Zealand 

See Housing First in action, in Christchurch and Rotorua. The two pūrākau, He oranga ngākau, he pikinga wairua and He Whare Kōrero o Mangatakitahi, recount the journey of two Housing First programmes in Aotearoa and the whānau (known as kaewa and manaha respectively) they support. 

He oranaga ngākau, he pikinga wairua – Housing First Christchurch 

He whare korero o Mangatakitahis – Housing First Rotorua 

Housing First evaluation and Rapid Rehousing Review 

A phase one evaluation of Housing First and a review of the Rapid Rehousing was released in February 2022. We welcome this report and look forward to findings from the second phase of the evaluation and review, which will include feedback from people receiving support from Housing First and Rapid Rehousing services. Once this second phase of evaluation and review has been completed, we will use insights and findings from both reports to develop and improve our policies as well as the design and implementation of these housing programmes.  

Housing First Evaluation Rapid Rehousing Review Phase 1 Report