Community Scoop

Home is more than a roof over our heads…

cushla-managhCushla Managh

Strategic Communications and Engagement Manager | Community Housing Aotearoa  

…but it’s a start.

And today one of the country’s many community housing trusts opened a new housing development designed to put a warm, dry, temporary roof over some of Auckland’s many families in need.

Up to 120 families a year will be able to stay for up to three months in the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust’s 30 purpose-built two-bedroom units in Mangere while they’re helped to find somewhere affordable and longer term to call home.

Today’s official opening coincides with World Homeless Day – and that’s no accident. Many of the families coming through Monte Cecilia’s doors have been looking for a secure, warm, dry rental for a long time, and many are in difficult situations.

When I talked about this with Bernie Smith, Monte Cecilia’s Chief Executive, he says the need for affordable housing in Auckland is immense. In the past year alone, more than 1600 children and their families turned to Monte Cecilia for help.

Many of the families knocking on Monte Cecilia’s doors are on minimum wage and have lots of commitments, sometimes with big debts, and they really need a hand.

Bernie Smith is in no doubt that having somewhere settled and secure to live makes a world of difference. In his experience, once families feel some relief from the pressure they’re under to find a home, Monte Cecilia staff usually see dramatic improvements in their well-being as they’re then put in touch with the health and social services they’ve often been missing out on.

If you want to see the difference having a home can make, take a look at the individual stories on Monte Cecilia’s website: Having a secure home changes lives.

And Monte Cecilia is just one of hundreds of community housing providers around New Zealand making a difference. As their sector group, here at Community Housing Aotearoa we are continually inspired by the work our members are doing to house New Zealanders, whatever their need – whether it is for emergency shelter, social housing, an affordable rental, or a pathway into owning their home.

And as we were welcomed onto the site at Mangere, as we heard the speeches and watched the official ribbon being cut, I was reminded yet again of the importance of having a long-term supply of affordable housing. In the words of Bernie Smith, home is more than just a roof over our heads. It’s a place for family and friends, a place for us to feel safe and comfortable, where we can plan for our future and that of our whānau.

And we all need a place to call home:


This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network. The views presented here are not necessarily those of ComVoices.

ComVoices is a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary sector organisations. It was established so that sector organisations would have a more powerful voice at Government level and in the community.

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