The club’s Community Services Committee (CSC) has been considering what it would recommend to the club as a new community services priority. We assessed several possible ways the club could be ‘leaders of positive social change’ – the proposed new Mission for the club. The proposal for a facility for homeless people with drug and alcohol addictions came through as the best opportunity because it:

• best suits our approach of working in partnership with other groups and agencies;
• draws on our strengths of influence and networks to achieve success; and
• could change the outcomes for a high needs group within the homeless population, those with alcohol and drug addictions.

Back in 2009, the club worked on the idea of a ‘wet house’, but ran into some challenges, including community acceptance of a suitable location. Recently, Mayor Justin Lester has provided civic leadership for the idea. The proposal is being called Te Whare Oki Oki (which means ‘a house of rest and recuperation’). It is different from other facilities like the night shelter as it:
• is a ‘housing first’ model, that gets people housed and supports them;
• provides permanent, group, supported high quality housing; and
• provides support through harm reduction alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation.

Progress so far has been:
• WCC has been looking for a suitable building in the CBD;
• discussions have been held with government agencies such as MSD and Corrections about funding, and with CCDHB about support; and
• it is expected that the facility will be managed by a community services provider.

Earlier this year the RCW Board approved in principle RCW involvement in the project. The CSC is working together with WCC and other agencies on the proposal. The precise role of the club is still being worked through. We will keep you informed and are happy to answer any questions.

~ Karen Coutts, Chair CSC and Roger Blakeley

A New Community Services Committee Initiative - Te Whare Oki Oki

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