The Commons Project launches

Last week marked our first weekly pop-up event at The Commons Gap Filler site to engage with Kaewa and provide services for those experiencing homelessness in the city.

A huge thank you to Gap Filler who have provided the space for us to use each week at The Commons.

“We’re excited to have Housing First here” says Linda Glasgow from Gap Filler. “People experiencing homelessness in the city often come through this site so it’s nice to have an established place that they can come to and feel like they have some ownership over”

Weekly activities will include outreach services and creative pursuits. Housing First’s Community Development worker Jono Kitt says it’s all about engaging with Kaewa and those experiencing homelessness to provide them with a space where they can feel comfortable to access services, connect and express their creativity.

Tuesday’s activities include art and games and on Wednesday’s CCC libraries brings their mobile library van along, as well as kai and jam sessions.

Jono is looking to expand further to bring more services onsite. “Many of our Kaewa might not feel comfortable accessing services such as a library in the community for different reasons, so being able to bring those services to them here in an environment that is familiar and feels safe is so important and breaks down many barriers”

One of these services is CCC’s mobile library van, which will be at the site weekly to ensure Kaewa can access library services. Community Learning Librarian Nameeta says the mobile library service is about “connecting to people who may not be comfortable to access a library.”

“It’s about ensuring equal access to library services. We’ve removed lots of barriers to access by providing free membership and waiving historic fines that might make people afraid to revisit a library”

“We want to remove the idea that some might feel that the library is just ‘not for them’”

The mobile library contains a wide-range of books and resources that can be adjusted depending on what visitor’s express interest in.

Art activities include Housing First Keyworker Che Rodda’s idea to create a space for Kaewa to express their creativity which came to life in the form of a car bonnet. The bonnet will be an art piece that Kaewa can contribute to and will be displayed in the Housing First office.

We’re incredibly grateful to Gap Filler, CCC, and CCC libraries for helping us bring this vision to life, and we’re looking forward to partnering with more groups as the project evolves. Watch this space!

Comcare Trust
Te Whare Roimata
Emerge Aotearoa
Christchurch City Mission
Christchurch Methodist Church