Dunedin is set to trial a youth housing facility to keep at-risk youth, including those who engage in prostitution in exchange for accommodation, off the streets.
Last week the Methodist Mission and Minister for Social Housing Amy Adams announced a transitional youth housing facility would open in the city in January. Mrs Adams was in Dunedin on an election campaign visit.
The Government would provide about $700,000 over the next two years to convert an existing property and pay service delivery costs for a pilot programme for 48 of Dunedin’s most vulnerable youth.
The announcement follows revelations 11 of 300 at-risk youth who responded to a 2015 Methodist Mission survey swapped sex for a place to stay.
The survey also showed 15 (5%) of respondents lived in boarding houses, and 7% slept rough.
Dunedin Methodist Mission business and development leader Jimmy McLauchlan said six young people at a time would spend 12 weeks in the residence in Woodhaugh St. The residence would be staffed around the clock and support would be offered by social workers and counsellors.
Facility residents would be required to be enrolled in ongoing education or employment while living there, he said.