February 2023

ManaakiTeam 1

As we come back for a New Year, we thought it would be a great opportunity to shine the spotlight yet again on one of our many fantastic services. This time we sat down with Dineka Young and Kara Makiri from our Emergency Housing service, who provided a fantastic kōrero on what their mahi involves.

“My main role is to walk alongside whānau placed in emergency housing, identify their immediate needs, and working through whatever is keeping them from attaining sustainable housing. It’s quite a hard space to be in, but I do my best to talk to them and listen to what is going on. A lot of the time they’re not very empowered, and their mana is being trampled on. Our aim is to set them on a path to work on their own journeys and goals, so they’re not so reliant on emergency housing or transitional housing".

Dineka is Kara’s kaitiaki and attests to the great work Kara does for whānau. “I work with Kara on the day-to-day stuff within her mahi but generally I’m not face-to-face with whānau. Kara does a fantastic job, she has so much empathy for everyone and just listens.”

When we asked Kara what her favourite part of the mahi is, it was an easy one for her to answer. “The best part is getting to work with whānau and getting to know them, helping them through their journey. Some move into transitional housing which can sometimes be a long-term stay, but my passion is seeing their happiness when they get into a whare. Once they have that, everything else falls into place and they can move forward with their goals, whether it’s training or mahi. Getting into that whare is key so everything else can branch off that.”

Kara’s role involves advocating in various ways like going to MSD meetings with whānau, meeting with case managers, and walking whānau through any services that they don’t understand. “I might attend house viewings with them, help them with their online applications, and provide any information they might need to further those applications.” Storage is also limited in emergency housing venues so Kara will even help in finding places to store belongings if needed. “It’s not easy to find a place sometimes when you are giving up your life’s belongings. Oftentimes whānau needs the basics like silverware and linen, and if they’ve exhausted all of their options, the services can connect them with ratonga that can help them in those areas.

“Sometimes there’s whānau that can’t reset debt, or have a bit of a patchy history, which can be challenging when it comes to securing housing. With everyone working in collaboration we’re hoping to reset a lot of the barriers and challenges for whānau. “A lot of whānau have tamariki with challenging disabilities”, Kara says. “It can be hard being in a confined space with children who don’t understand what’s going on."

Dineka shed a bit of light on the MSD holiday programme for tamariki, which goes hand-in-hand with the Emergency Housing mahi. “The programme was but together with MSD because emergency housing doesn’t necessarily mean kids are changing schools. There’s lots of kids running around the houses with nothing to do, so parents sometimes have to choose between going to mahi and leaving the kids on their own, which is not really an option! Some of the venues are quite near roads as well. The programme is good for tamariki to access, so they’re not confined to that little space.”

The Ready to Rent programme is run in partnership with MSD and Roderique Hope Trust. It’s provided for tenants and focuses on the knowledge and skills essential for a successful renting experience. "It gets them ready and prepared for rental properties and goes over their rights, as well as the rules and regulations as part of their housing contract. They have to be proactive and meet a lot of requirements like showing that they are attending viewings and stuff. But when you’re at a viewing with 100 other people, you certainly get a bit disheartened, especially with histories that can’t be removed. Some find it hard to get past this position because of the things that are happening or have happened. Everyone’s got a history and we don’t want to hold it against them."

“We put the past in the past and be non-judgemental. We find it’s always a really positive thing for them to see that service like Tui Ora won’t judge them. We’re a bright light in a dark room, reminding them that they’re not alone. We can all move past and make it better for tamariki and whanau as a whole". 

“The feedback we got from whānau was that they were worried about Christmas because they are in emergency housing” says Kara “They were feeling overwhelmed and were concerned that they wouldn’t enjoy the day. Providers came up with a plan to put something special on for them. We had a Christmas-themed day here in North Taranaki. There was kai, activities, and prizes for tamariki which were all fantastic to have.

“It was fantastic, Ngā Ruahine came up from the south and brought heaps of tamariki with them. It was all about manaakitanga, wairuatanga and whakawhanaungatanga and it was awesome to see smiles on so many faces. It was a great collaboration, we had MSD case managers, housing brokers, and Roderique Hope Trust even provided lucky dips for tamariki. As a parent Christmas is of course always about your kids and for tamariki emergency housing isn’t a great Christmas. We just wanted to bring a bit of sunshine amongst what is often a crappy situation and feel like everyone was really empowered by the day.”

 

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