DCM works at the tough end of things. When people have no money, no food and no roof over their heads, they come to us.
Each week DCM works with some 150 people, supporting them to make dramatic changes in their lives. Most of these meet the New Zealand definition of homelessness or are at risk of homelessness; we work with them to find housing, access their correct benefit entitlements, manage their money, and connect with family and a range of health and other services.
“I felt I had no purpose in life, and I didn't care; but the staff at DCM were prepared to go out of their way to help me. They helped me get back on a benefit and get my own place. I'm attending AA and I haven't needed a food parcel or special grant in a long time.” (Richard)
The past year has been one of great challenge and change for us at DCM.
In 2014, following a review of Mental Health services, Capital & Coast District Health Board made a number of significant changes to the way it delivers services to people with a mental health diagnosis and/or addiction. This resulted in the closure of day services/drop-in centres which were used regularly by DCM people and, despite the absence of funding, the DCM Board took a decision to pick up the service in the central city which was about to fall over and to pilot running it over a period of six months. We took this decision because of our concern that the closure of this service could seriously affect a group of vulnerable people, including people who are currently homeless and have multiple high needs.
In addition to this, for some time DCM has been working towards establishing a service hub which brings together organisations to co-locate in one building and work together to support, empower and enable people to make positive changes in their own lives. In 2015 we are seeing this vision become a reality in the form of Te Korowai nui o te whanau (“the large cloak that envelops the family”).
Te Korowai involves the co-location of various services including DCM’s current services, the new pilot service that we have named Te Hapai, two Te Aro Health Centre health rooms, a low cost dental service staffed by volunteer dentists, probation services, Atareira (a whanau mental health service) and Easy Access Housing. As we write this, our DCM team has just relocated to another part of our building in Lukes Lane, as the refurbishment of the building to support Te Korowai continues.
These are exciting times for us at DCM, but also times when despite no increase in funding and with existing funding sources up for review, we have had to step in and take on new challenges to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our city are not left unsupported. The support we receive from the people of Wellington is a very important part of everything we do; we are proud of the fact that one third of our funding comes from people like you who demonstrate your support for our work and your concern for the people we work with in such a tangible way.
Te Hapai means to lift up or elevate. Please consider giving a little to DCM as the end of this tax year approaches. Remember that for every $1 you donate, you can claim 33.33¢ as a tax deduction.
Thank you for your support!