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Homeless hub a model of collaboration

LGNZ award med

Respect, trust and care for some of Hastings’ most vulnerable adults is the kaupapa behind the award-winning Kuhu Mai – a strong partnership providing support and services to Hastings’ homeless (whaiora).

On Friday night [July 28] at the Local Government New Zealand annual conference in Christchurch, Hastings District Council was named the winner of the SuperCollab Award and the winner of the Supreme Award, for the Kuhu Mai initiative.

The collaboration between Council, Hastings Church (via its Connect Community Trust), and Anglican Care Waiapu was recognised by the judges as a “shining example of the localism approach”.

Localism is councils “working collaboratively with various stakeholders, including community members, partner organisations and public services to create impactful projects that cater to the unique needs of their communities”.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she was “incredibly proud” of all of the partners to the initiative.

“What has been achieved so far is quite astounding and we are looking forward to even more success. As a Council we have a strong emphasis on working with partners to help our community to the best of our ability. We understand that together we are stronger, and this partnership with Hastings Church and Anglican Care Waiapu is yet further proof of that.”

Anglican Care Waiapu chief executive Lucy Laitinen said that the Anglican Church had a long history of supporting the vulnerable in the community, for example through city missions, but it made more sense in Hastings to partner with those already doing the mahi, like Warren and Sarah Heke and their community.

‘’We spent more than a year getting to know Warren and his community and developing relationships with Hastings District Council to make sure we had the relationship foundation to do this work well. Relationship and aroha are at the heart of the Kuhu Mai approach with the vulnerable and we needed to model that in our own collaboration. For us this has meant much more than being just a funder; it’s about practical support and friendship. We all needed to pull our weight.”

There are 140 whaiora registered with the day hub, with 70 using it more than three days a week. It offers a safe place, kai, a shower, somewhere to charge a phone, and assistance to access medical services, job opportunities and homes.

Hastings Church lead pastor Warren Heke said more than 60 whaiora were now enrolled with a GP, with many not having accessed medical services “for a very long time”.

“We’ve got people into regular work who weren’t able to hold down jobs; we’ve broken the reoffending cycle for others. We’ve supported people into permanent housing, who are now contributing back to their community through the hub.

“We have given agency back to a vulnerable community that have often felt powerless over their own lives. As a faith-based organisation, we’re confident a non-transactional approach to care works. Collaboration born out of long-term trust relationships works at every level. Whether with funders, operators, local government, providers, and service users – it’s the bedrock to sustainable positive outcomes and a thriving community.”

30 July 2023

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