DCM

DCM

DCM believes that together we truly can end homelessness in Wellington.

Wellington

DCM has been serving the most marginalised communities in Wellington since 1969 and works at the tough end of things – when people have no money, no food, and no roof over their heads. DCM is the leading social service working with people who are experiencing homelessness in Wellington – in particular, those who are rough sleeping or without shelter.

When life deals the toughest hands, DCM is there.

DCM empowers individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness through many services including Toro Atu (Outreach) for rough sleepers in Wellington, Te Pae Manaaki Tangata at 2 Lukes Lane connecting whānau with essential support, and Aro Mai Housing First, which quickly moves people into housing in Te Aro and Lower Hutt. Noho Pai (Sustaining Tenancies) helps housed whānau maintain their tenancies and thrive. Te Hāpai offers a welcoming space for rough sleepers, while Te Awatea provides support for substance abuse issues. Our Money Management service aids in financial independence, and our Foodbank offers emergency food assistance. DCM also hosts a medical centre with nurses and other health practitioners, as well as vital services such as MSD and Community Mental Health workers.

More about us

DCM’s vision is for communities where whānau are housed, connected, valued, and thriving. We believe that those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless as a result of economic and social changes have the right to have their worth and dignity upheld. We provide mana-enhancing support services to empower them to reach their housing and social aspirations.

DCM’s byline is “Together we can end homelessness”: we believe that it takes a collective and concentrated effort to support marginalised people into housing. We do this by embracing a Housing First approach, moving people from homelessness into housing then providing wraparound support and regular home visits to ensure they sustain their tenancy and thrive in all aspects of their lives.

DCM is with them every step of the way, and you can be too!

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Life growing larger – Keri’s story  8 March 2023

Keri has a large number 13 tattooed across his right cheek. It’s unmissable – but it’s slowly starting to fade as Keri undergoes laser tattoo removal.

“It’s been a bit of a process,” Keri reflects. “I’ve done six or seven sessions now. Got three or four to go – do them every six weeks.

“It f*&kin’ hurt getting it put on – but getting it taken off! Yeah, it’s not really getting easier…”

Keri is working with DCM’s Aro Mai Housing First team, and his key worker Riley has been accompanying him when he goes in for tattoo removal procedures. Keri has been judged harshly for his tattoo, with many people and organisations unwilling to engage with him.

He explains why this might be. “Number 13 is Mongrel Mob. We do all of our patchings on the 13th.”

But Keri threw in his patch six years ago – and he hasn’t looked back since.

Keri was born in Hamilton, and along with his brother was adopted out. He describes family life as up and down – but not too bad.

“I grew up with a Māori father and a blue-eyed, blonde-haired Pākehā mother, so you’ve got the best of both sides!”

The family ended up moving to Rotorua, where Keri’s father worked as a school principal. Despite his father’s job, Keri describes school as “shitty”.

“I just hated school – only went for the bone carving. But that was only an hour a week.”

Keri started hanging out downtown, where at around 12 or 13 years of age he began to engage with the Mongrel Mob.

For Keri, it was like gaining another family. “Gang life was good. Just like having brothers,” he says, while adding, “The young ones have burnt a lot of bridges over the years.”

It is those in-between years that Keri doesn’t like to talk about much. He is too focussed on the future to dwell on the past. In the past there was prison, violence, and injuries. Keri wanted change – which led him to Te Aro Health Centre.

Te Aro Health shares DCM’s kaupapa in every way. People are not talked down to, or judged, when they visit Te Aro Health. Instead they are welcomed, and experience respect. For Keri, this was a game-changer, and led to a phone call to Regina for help with housing.

Regina was Keri’s first key worker at DCM, and they quickly found they had a close connection.

“I was couch surfing with my sister in Strathmore,” Keri explains. “Straight across from me lived Regina. I used to go diving with her husband! When I went to DCM I finally met her – then I clicked!”

Regina sorted out some emergency housing for Keri. Despite the dire state of emergency housing in Aotearoa, for Keri, the stability that comes with having a roof over your head meant everything.

From there Keri rapidly went from strength to strength, and he now has his own whare thanks to the Aro Mai Housing First collaboration, which involves moving people from homelessness into housing then providing wraparound support and regular home visits to ensure people can sustain their tenancy.

“Keri’s super self-sufficient in a lot of ways,” Riley shares. “Because he is really well connected and supported in his community – and with his whānau as well. So he will ask mates for help when needed – or they’ll offer – which is awesome.

“Our help has mostly been with finances, kai, stuff like that – and connections to services. Assistance with filling out forms and explaining information.”

Former key worker Regina was blown away to learn of Keri’s progress.

“We can always offer support – anyone can do that – but it’s whether or not the individual chooses to take hold of that support. And it takes a lot of humility – especially, I know, for a man of Keri’s background – to be able to come to that place where he knows that he needs to accept it.”

Keri is connecting with his community, with his kids – and he’s even got to know the landlord. In the future, he wants to start carving again, in his own whare.

“Life has got a hell of a lot better – especially since I met you guys,” Keri says. “Everyone at DCM has treated me well.”

Riley shares, “Keri has always been the same guy. Always charismatic and confident, and able, but watching him settle into being housed again, so he can have the confidence to have his kids over, has been awesome. I’ve seen him blossom and flourish in slow but steady ways.

“Life for Keri is growing larger – bit by bit.”

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