Housing a human right fundamental to health and well-being
Foundation North understands that access to affordable and appropriate housing is a human right and fundamental to the health and well-being of whānau and communities in Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau. Rapid rises in the cost of housing in the last decade has increased the number of people living in marginal housing situations, and this is highest amongst Māori and Pacific peoples. We recognise the systemic challenges present in Aotearoa that require action from central and local governments, those in the housing sector, and our partners in the philanthropic sector. Guided by research, experts in the community and mana whenua, Foundation North aims to make strategic partnerships, grants, and investments in initiatives that achieve our vision of Increased Equity within our rōhe.
Recognising our history of funding housing related initiatives, in 2020 Foundation North incorporated housing as a key well-being measure for Māori and Pacific peoples under our Hāpai te Ōritetanga | Increased Equity strategic focus area. A strong partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has seen tens of thousands of homes in Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau made warmer since 2005. Our largest grant ever was to support the construction of Home Ground, the new Auckland City Mission premises. We continue to fund these initiatives and others that contribute to affordable and appropriate housing, transitional housing, and the work to end homelessness; develop Māori and Pacific solutions to housing; and invest in Community Housing Bonds.
In 2000, 2019, and again in 2021, Foundation North commissioned reports into the state of housing in Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau through the Centre for Social Impact. These reports highlighted that the housing crisis has continued to worsen and disproportionally affect our rōhe, with Auckland households facing the greatest housing cost burden of any region. More than half of overcrowded homes in Aotearoa are in Auckland, and the highest levels of housing deprivation experienced by Māori and Pacific peoples is in Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau.
Reports from CSI commissioned by Foundation North:
Upholding the housing needs and rights of our communities
Change is happening slowly with recent legislation aiming to make the construction of new housing easier, strengthen the provision of social housing, and increase protections for tenants in rented housing. The Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018, COVID-19 Wellbeing Budget 2021, and Homelessness Action Plan 2020 have also worked to address the impacts of the housing crisis. However, action is required on many fronts, and institutions will increasingly be called to respond as housing gains acceptance as a basic human right. As a philanthropic organisation seeking to be impactful intergenerationally, Foundation North recognises it has a key role in upholding the housing needs and rights of our priority communities in our rōhe.
Together with four partners; Auckland City Mission, Kāhui Tū Kaha, LinkPeople and VisionWest, Lifewise is part of the Housing First collective. An idea borrowed from overseas and co-designed with New Zealanders who have lived experience of homelessness, Housing First is based on the idea that homeless, or ‘unsheltered’, people should be housed before issues such as drug addictions and mental health problems are addressed.
In Auckland city centre, and other parts of New Zealand, Housing First has gone from an innovative idea to life-changing reality; guided by a strong kaupapa Māori approach and driven by the principle that a home is a basic human right.
He Korowai Trust, led for many years by the late Ricky Houghton, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of whānau in the Far North, in particular developing housing and employment initiatives that support young people to stay in Te Tai Tokerau, to remain connected with whānau and have a secure and sustainable future. This video was made in 2014.