Monday, 23 April 2012

Supporting Hidden Talents

Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) works at the tough end of things. Faced with those in need, we often forget to report on the positive outcomes of our work.

Kate Bell, outreach worker at DCM says, “Many of our service users have hidden talents they don’t have the opportunity to show because they don’t have the stability and security that having a place to live provides.”

Kate and Alan Norman, also an outreach worker at DCM, are involved in supporting people into stable and affordable housing.

“One of our clients has an amazing talent for writing poetry. His poems are brilliant, and since he has moved into permanent housing this talent has flourished – and so has he”, says Alan.

Alan and Kate first met this person when he was living at the Night Shelter. He is a quiet person, and so didn’t come forward to say that he needed support. When they did connect with him, they found he didn’t think he was entitled to help, and had debts which prevented him from moving into a tenancy with City Housing.

City Housing has a policy where if a person has debts over a certain threshold, they must be actively paying them off before they can be eligible for housing. With Alan acting as an advocate for him, this person was able to reduce and manage his debts.

“When we visited recently, he was looking extremely happy. He has started writing poetry again, he had food cooking on the stove, and has a much brighter outlook on life than when Kate and I first met him,” says Alan.

There are many other service users with hidden talents, and we hope that once they are living in stable accommodation these talents will be given the opportunity to grow.

You can find out more about the work that we do at DCM by contacting us on 04 384 7699 or visiting our website: