This research determines the demographic profile, accommodation needs and support needs of a homeless or potentially homeless population in Nelson.
A questionnaire survey of a sample population will provide quantitative and qualitative data on household characteristics, reasons for homelessness, housing and support needs. The methodology for this research required people whose current accommodation was not adequate, to participate. A simple questionnaire was used (See appendix1), which was completed using a structured interview. The questionnaires were given to a variety of local community organizations (see appendix 2), for the organsiations’ support worker to complete the questionnaire with their client. Other questionnaires were completed by the researcher herself and assistant where homeless people were not already in contact with a support agency, e.g. Night Shelter.
Nelson does have a homeless population, which consists of both men and women. There are currently very limited resources for both men and women in need of emergency and temporary housing. A Night Shelter for men with only 4 beds and a caravan at Tahunanui Motor Camp site for others (maximum 3) and a further cabin could be made available in limited situations.
At the time of writing this conclusion a further unit has been installed at Tahunanui Motor Camp. This is a cabin style accommodation unit which can house 4-5 maximum. While this extends the capacity of Nelson to accommodate those in emergency situations, it must be confirmed that stays are for only 1 week, with a conditional further week under discretionary agreement. Stays are also contingent on an appropriate social agency taking the 'lead' to provide appropriate support for the 'tenant' to secure more appropriate and secure accommodation. Some of landlords/managers who do provide low priced accommodation, e.g. camp sites and back-packers are genuinely caring landlords, and strongly respect their client’s confidentiality rights.
In general there is a need for an increase in all types of accommodation at a lower rent and an indication for Work and Income to consider how to pay the rent direct to a landlord to ensure stability of tenancy for selected 'clients'. Many people who are currently homeless are moving in cycles of transience, i.e. they may find accommodation, but within a short time move on; and many also have mental health issues and/or addictions. To ensure stability of the tenancy, social work support for homeless people in newly provided accommodation is paramount to the tenant remaining stable in their home.