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Forgotten women: a study of women and homelessness in Auckland, New Zealand Kate Bukowski

By: Bukowski, Kate.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookDescription: electronic document (96 p.): 534.84 KB.Other title: A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Health, University of Auckland, 2009.Subject(s): DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | MENTAL HEALTH | WOMEN | NEW ZEALAND | AUCKLAND | HOUSINGOnline resources: Click here to access online Summary: Homelessness is an issue that is highly gender bound in most western countries. The issue of women’s homelessness has not been adequately recognised or addressed in New Zealand. There is a group of women who are not in permanent safe or secure homes in New Zealand. Their houses are damp, cold and unsafe. These houses are far from being homes. The violence and poverty these women face means they are a highly transient population. As a result of their housing situations they often have poor mental and physical health. This is the picture of homeless women in New Zealand society today. The aims of this study were to investigate why some women in New Zealand are without permanent, safe and secure accommodation and what can be done to minimise the risk of female homelessness in New Zealand. This report uses a participatory research approach. Historically homeless populations have had a dependency on service providers. Participatory methodology challenges that power relationship by putting the research participants in the driver’s seat. Women were asked what caused them to become homeless and what they think could be done to decrease female homelessness in New Zealand. This information informs the findings of the dissertation in conjunction with the literature review. This study found that homeless women often feel discriminated against because of coming from situations of domestic violence and having mental illnesses and addictions. This study also found that violence and leaving relationships in general are a major cause of homelessness amongst women. Many women lack support during this phase in their lives and become homeless as a result. The high and complex needs of these women mean that there are significant challenges to working with them. A policy and service response must acknowledge and cater to the diverse needs and backgrounds of these women. iv Recommendations focused on the need for a bond bank, access to warm, dry, energy efficient rental houses in safe neighbourhoods and coordination of addiction and mental health services. This study found that the Housing First model would be the most effective at minimising the risk of female homelessness. The focus of Housing First is to get homeless people straight into permanent housing and provide intensive support. This has been demonstrated to be highly effective. Auckland needs a women’s Housing First project. (Author's abstract).
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Homelessness is an issue that is highly gender bound in most
western countries. The issue of women’s homelessness has not been adequately recognised or addressed in New Zealand. There is a group of women who are not in permanent safe or secure homes in New Zealand. Their houses are damp, cold and unsafe. These houses are far from being homes. The violence and poverty these women face means they are a highly transient population. As a result of their housing situations they often have poor mental and physical
health. This is the picture of homeless women in New Zealand society today. The aims of this study were to investigate why some women in New Zealand are without permanent, safe and secure accommodation and what can be done to minimise the risk of female homelessness in New Zealand. This report uses a participatory research approach. Historically homeless populations have had a dependency on service providers.
Participatory methodology challenges that power relationship by
putting the research participants in the driver’s seat. Women were asked what caused them to become homeless and what they think could be done to decrease female homelessness in New Zealand. This information informs the findings of the dissertation in conjunction with the literature review.
This study found that homeless women often feel discriminated
against because of coming from situations of domestic violence and having mental illnesses and addictions. This study also found that violence and leaving relationships in general are a major cause of homelessness amongst women. Many women lack support during this phase in their lives and become homeless as a result. The high and complex needs of these women mean that there are significant challenges to working with them. A policy and service response must acknowledge and cater to the diverse needs and backgrounds of these women. iv Recommendations focused on the need for a bond bank, access to warm, dry, energy efficient rental houses in safe neighbourhoods and coordination of addiction and mental health services. This study found that the Housing First model would be the most effective at minimising the risk of female homelessness. The focus of Housing First is to get homeless people straight into permanent housing and provide intensive support. This has been demonstrated to be highly effective. Auckland needs a women’s Housing First project. (Author's abstract).