There is a dire shortage of accommodation for people with chronic mental health issues in South Canterbury.
Richmond Services Ltd delivery manager Barbara Mosley said she knew of at least 10 people desperately needing a place to live, including one person being asked to leave an aged care facility yesterday due to lack of support.
"The rest home asked her to leave because of issues," Ms Mosley said. "She had been placed in the home even though she was under the age of 65 because there was nowhere else to go.
"The rest home has simply not been able to manage it either."
Ms Mosley said the mental health sector was driven by a recovery model to get people into employment, housing and normalise them socially.
However the model did not accommodate people in the 50-65 year age group and they were the ones who were falling on the wayside.
Ms Mosley was also aware that when the Salvation Army's Bramwell Booth home in Temuka closes next month, four more people suffering with mental health issues will be struggling to find a place to live, not just because of the high cost of accommodation but also because of the stigma the private rental market might impose on them.
Victoria Trust has 23 flats in Timaru providing accommodation for people recovering from mental health issues.
Trust manager Brent Morrow said they had four tenants on the waiting list who urgently needed housing.
Accommodation had been arranged for one from next month, while another was expected to move into the trust's accommodation in six months. There was no date for the remaining two as space was dependent on current tenants moving on.
The trust would like to increase its housing pool by another two flats but that depended on funding.
The Mental Health Foundation's director of policy and development, Hugh Norriss, said it was essential people with mental health issues had good housing and employment.
"The sad fact is that people are being discriminated against where they need [help] most - in housing and jobs.
"It is absolutely important to find out about people and what they are capable of before making a judgment call against them."
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