Mayoral Taskforce on homelessness sets action plan

Homelessness has been an ongoing issue in Tauranga for a number of years. File photo.

A Mayoral Taskforce has been set up to tackle the issue of homelessness in Tauranga.

Local government, central government agencies, local philanthropic funders and community organisations in the western Bay of Plenty have joined forces with the aim of eliminating homelessness throughout the Western Bay of Plenty.

Following a successful first meeting of the Mayoral Taskforce on Homelessness, chairperson and Tauranga City Mayor Tenby Powell describes the evolving taskforce partnership as an “exciting step forward in tackling the region’s homelessness issues”.

“It has taken a few months to get to this stage, but during that time, a strategy and action plan – named Kāinga Tupu: Growing Homes – has been developed by our key community providers, with the help of Philip King of Lycus Ltd,” says Powell.

“The taskforce partner agencies have now agreed on a new name, Kāinga Tupu Mayoral Taskforce, and adopted a Memorandum of Understanding and structure to guide the Taskforce’s implementation of the action plan.”

He says the partnership, developed with Government departments, is particularly positive, because it can potentially provide access to targeted funding streams for the western Bay of Plenty sub-region.

“Our sub-region’s homelessness issues are complex and no single organisation has the knowledge, expertise and resources needed to address all of those issues.

"But together, we can collaborate to deliver real solutions and execute an action plan that will, over time, provide greater housing solutions and increased wellbeing for people experiencing homelessness.

“Our vision is that homelessness in the western Bay of Plenty is prevented where possible, or is rare, brief and non-recurring; and our mission is to ensure that all residents have access to housing which is warm, safe, habitable and affordable.”

Kāinga Tupu’s action plan focuses on four workstreams aligned with the National Homelessness Action Plan:

  •   •  Prevention - ensuring that individuals and whānau receive the help they need to stop homelessness happening in the first instance;

  •   •  Support - all residents have a place to call home;

  •   •  Supply - providing homes so that people experiencing homelessness can move quickly into stable accommodation and access the wider social support they need; and

  •   •  System enablers – systems support and enable our vision to address homelessness together.

Organisations involved in the taskforce include the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Te Pūni Kōkiri, Ministry of Social Development, Kāinga Ora: Homes and Communities, NZ Police, Ministry of Education, Department of Corrections, BOP District Health Board, Wise Group, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi te Rangi Iwi Trust, Ngāti Ranginui Iwi Society Trust, BayTrust, EmpowermentNZ, Under the Stars, Accessible Properties, Huria Marae, and Tauranga City CouncilAction Group membership will also draw upon a range of other social agencies.

Evaluation and monitoring of activities will be a key feature, to ensure that action plans stay on track and are delivering the outcomes envisaged.

Project manager and Tauranga City Council Community Development Advisor Jodie Robertson acknowledges the financial contributions of Kāinga Ora: Homes and Communities, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Ministry of Social Development and Tauranga City Council, which have funded the development of an Evaluation and Monitoring Framework.

Robertson says Kāinga Tupu has some aspirational goals to achieve by 2023.

These include:

  •   •  Emphasis on COVID-19 recovery and supporting those who are currently placed in emergency accommodation;

  •   •  Social housing should make-up at least 4 per cent of the region’s housing stock;

  •   •  Measurement of progress and success is managed through an integrated data platform;

  •   •  Identification of the western Bay of Plenty by central Government as a housing-need hot spot;

  •   •  Coordinated sector responses and allocated funding are in place;

  •   •  Establishment of a funded, sustaining tenancies programme; and

  •   •  More affordable housing is available across the sub-region.

“We have a series of priority actions across all workstreams to deliver those goals, with response and recovery to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic being a top priority."

Robertson also acknowledges the generosity of a range of organisations which have contributed funding to the development of Kāinga Tupu: Growing Homes, including Tauranga City Council, Te Pūni Kōkiri, TECT, and BayTrust; and the crucial contribution of community providers, which has been the “driving force” behind the strategy.

Powell says that having set its goals, Kāinga Tupu: Growing Homes now needs to maintain the momentum.

“Consequently, the Taskforce will meet every month to monitor progress and overcome obstacles and will share more information on its action plans as the activities they involve are rolled-out.”

For further information on the Kāinga Tupu: Growing Homes strategy or action plan, visit the Tauranga City Council website.

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Posted on 11-06-2020 14:49 | By morepork

I thought on what you posted. I think you have a fair point. There was a move to take seriously mentally ill people out of institutions and place them "back in the community"; maybe we are seeing some of the outcome from this. If so, it definitely needs a different approach.


Posted on 09-06-2020 19:42 | By Accountable

Rehousing the genuine homeless has never been the problem. Housing the street people of the CBD is impossible. If Tenby were to actually talk to the CBD street people he would quickly realise that there is no political advantage for him to help these people who do not want the sort of help he is offering. They are happy roaming the streets causing havoc when they have run out of their medication, getting feed twice or three times a week within the CBD , looking like they are the perfect example of a homeless person when in fact they all have serious mental problems and are desperately in need of government support. Mayor Powell has been told this many times but because there is no political advantage in it for him, he continues to ignore the real problem in Downtown Tauranga. Please stop this crap in the CBD Tenby.


Posted on 09-06-2020 13:42 | By overit

You will never eliminate it. You provide and they will all come.

What's in a name?

Posted on 09-06-2020 12:19 | By morepork

It’s a "Mayoral" action group, but the work will be done by many others. Never mind, it is a step in the right direction. Now let’s see if the Mayor will actually translate it into action. A plan with a name and a monthly meeting will not, of itself, get homeless people off the streets, but I acknowledge the Mayor for doing SOMETHING.


Posted on 09-06-2020 10:50 | By

What is the criteria to be classed as a “resident” of Tauranga if you are homeless? Could you simply jump on a bus to Tauranga and say you live here but have nowhere TO live? I hope it doesn’t become a magnet for transient people hoping to take advantage of this Mayoral Taskforce.