Youth transitional housing opens in South Auckland

He Pā Piringa is the first kaupapa Māori transitional housing service for homeless youth.

A South Auckland charitable trust, Mā Te Huruhuru, part of a youth housing collective, Manaaki Rangatahi, runs the initiative.

The length of stay at He Pā Piringa is 52 weeks, where rangatahi will undertake the Te Pae Tawhiti programme, Mā Te Huruhuru Trust chief executive and founder Māhera Maihi says Te Pae Tawhiti seeks to reconnect rangatahi Māori to their identity.

"We have got 18 bedrooms here for young people between the ages of 17-21 who whakapapa to Māori and during this 52-week programme, we will be looking at reconnection and healing and restoring mauri ora."

Maihi says youth homelessness is an issue that isn't spoken about enough.

"Youth homelessness is a huge crisis. It's an invisible issue that's in plain sight."

Homeless rangatahi 'unacceptable'

The Housing Minister responsible for homelessness, Mārama Davidson, who was on hand to help open the complex, says youth homelessness needs to be put at the top of the agenda.

"It's unacceptable to me as a minister that there are rangatahi who are homeless. That should not be what we accept here in Aotearoa."

Mā Te Huruhuru is a part of the Manaaki Rangatahi ki Tāmaki Youth Homelessness Collective collective, a group that was established in 2018 as a way of consolidating the work of different organisations that are trying to tackle youth homelessness.

Maihi says that once the 52-week stay is finished, rangatahi can then look to other organisations to help them find more permanent accommodation.

"We are working with other organisations within Manaaki Rangatahi that will be ready for the young people when they leave here to put them into social housing so that they have got a forever home, not just another transitional housing house."