The Christchurch Methodist Mission is increasing its emergency housing capacity as individuals and families struggle to find warm, affordable and secure housing.

CMM is in the process of opening 13 emergency houses in Christchurch. The houses are being leased from private landlords and will enable families who are homeless to have secure accommodation while a more permanent housing solution is found for them.

As of 30th June this year almost 500 households in Christchurch were on the Ministry of Social Development's social housing register. 65% were considered 'at risk' with a severe and persistent housing need that must be addressed immediately. Being able to offer these households emergency housing is of critical importance. Before coming into CMM's emergency housing, families have been staying in motels or overcrowded houses. Staying in motels in particular is very insecure as they are only able to stay for 7 days at a time.

"There are many families in Christchurch that have insecure housing. The new emergency houses will give them secure accommodation for up to 12 weeks while we work to provide a long term housing solution," says CMM Housing Development and Tenancy Manager Andrea Goodman.

The families in the emergency housing often have underlying issues that need to be addressed. CMM has recently appointed Social Worker Tania Smith to provide wrap-around support and ensure they have the resources they need when they move into a long term home. Over Christmas families will receive a food hamper and gifts through Support a Family and budgeting advice will be available.

In Blenheim the joint CMM/Crossroads emergency housing initiative is working with up to 24 households at a time that are living in a combination of motel units and houses. These households are supported for up to 3 months after they have moved into long term housing.

"The demand is definitely increasing. Other agencies are now referring households to us," says Blenheim-based CMM Social Worker Micheline Quinn. "In particular it is a real struggle for single people to find secure housing as there is a real lack of one bedroom houses or units. It is also really hard for those on benefits to find affordable housing."

Photo Caption: CMM Social Worker Tania Smith supports families in emergency housing throughout Christchurch.

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