Minister opens trust's safe haven for youth

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2014

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A house has been set up in Invercargill for troubled youth with nowhere else to go.

Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust chief executive Tracey Wright-Tawha said the organisation leased the house to provide 17- to 24-year-olds with a stable place to live while they completed education or searched for employment.

The house could accommodate 12 residents and had been operational for about two months, she said.

Young people could be referred from Corrections, Child, Youth and Family or Work and Income.

Tenants needed to be active clients at Nga Kete and assessed for suitability, Wright-Tawha said.

Part of the process was the development of a goal plan prepared in consultation with a case worker, which aimed to move the young person towards independence, she said.

"We are treating the first 12 months as a pilot period where we will track issues, plans and progress before we consider a maximum length of stay."

Nga Kete was given a starting grant but would continue to manage the house on board payments. Residents would pay $150 board a week from either wages, a student loan or benefit, she said.

They would have their own room, access to a day room with television and wi-fi capacity.

An evening hot meal would always be available and a night supervisor had been appointed and would live at the house.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett officially opened the Supported Youth Living house yesterday.

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- The Southland Times

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