April 2016 - Sad and tragic event
Tragically on 30 March one of our tenants was assaulted and he passed away as a result of his injuries. As the Police have confirmed, the alleged attacker was also a tenant. We want to share, as much as we can, the awful event that happened in one of our homes.
Our tenants’ wellbeing and safety are always our first concern and so to have this happen is devastating. We have lost one of our community and this hurts deeply. We are also so saddened that another man’s life has changed forever.
This house has provided a much needed home to people in need for 30 years. A home where people can take time to find long term accommodation, live there and get the support and care they want and need. This is the first incident like this to happen. We are proud that hundreds of people have been helped over many years at this home. We do not want this one tragic, awful incident to overshadow all the good work and help that has been provided by so many for so long.
The work we do is varied and at times can be hard, especially when the needs of people are complex and challenging. Our services work when everyone plays their part. Dwell provides homes and we are more than a landlord. We provide a supportive environment where we provide food and oversight of the house and tenants wellbeing. We don’t provide mental health services and we are not the police.
Our experience is that at times people don't get the right help they need when they need it. Right now we feel two men and our community have been failed. Once again money is being spent cleaning up at the bottom of the cliff and not being spent building fences at the top.
We house people in need and people on low incomes. Sadly at times like this if “mental health” is mentioned it becomes the focus. The people who live in this home are more than people experiencing mental illness. They are real people with real lives. They are men and women who are part of our community, families and friendship circles. They are men and women who we care about. They do things people do, like go to church, play music, garden, make models, tell jokes and funny stories, tell sad stories and go to the supermarket. They frustrate us endlessly, they challenge us constantly, and they also step up. They teach us what resilience really means. Over the last few days our staff have felt more than ever that it’s a privilege to know our tenants.
We are so proud of our amazing team who stepped up. Their first priority was the wellbeing of the remaining tenants. They have spent time just sitting and talking as well as organising what was needed. Our sincere thanks to the CCDHB staff who organised for all the extra support and care for the people who live at the house and thanks to those who did the support.
Amongst all the shock, sadness and hurt has also been kindness, warmth and support. We have been overwhelmed by the response from the local community and also from other colleagues. People have gone out of their way to give us flowers, chocolates, cards, offers of help and to share their sadness and their stories with us. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contact us, it means so much and has been heart-warming. There is goodness and positivity in our community.
Finally our hearts go out to Bill’s family and friends. The tenants say they miss his regular routines that added a rhythm and calm to the house.