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Joe's Story

Joe needed a home but his main goal was to get off the benefit and turn his life around. Workwise and The People’s Project share Joe’s employment journey.

Seeing what a good life can look like

Joe* arrived at The People’s Project (Tauranga) in March 2023. He was thirty years old and had a diagnosis of ADHD. He had his belongings in a shopping trolley, with nowhere to go. He was agitated, showing signs of heightened behaviour and he needed a home.

The People’s Project staff supported him into emergency housing, advocating for him to be accepted. He had a criminal background and had been in and out of the justice system.

Once he had somewhere to stay, The People’s Project was able to support him to search for more suitable accommodation. At the same time, the Workwise employment consultant started working with him on employment.

Joe went to a job interview but failed the drug test due to the medication he was taking. The employer was very supportive and said that if he could pass a further test to prove that medication was the cause, they would support him to start work as a factory hygienist. The People’s Project stepped in with funding so Joe could take another test and get the job while the vacancy was still open. They got the results back quickly and Joe was able to start the next day.

Finding a job, getting his CV prepared and going through the interview process was seen as a success not only for Joe but for everyone involved. Important support came from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), with a Transition To Work Grant so Joe could get a bicycle to ride to work. The grant also helped with work clothes, safety gear, boots and a helmet.

Finding a good home

Joe applied for a private rental close to his work. The property was managed by a supportive real estate agent who was open to giving everyone a chance. One condition was that Joe had to meet the flatmates first, and if they agreed, he could take on the rental. Luckily, Joe got on well with the flatmates and they felt comfortable having him there. When he moved in, he started to make friends with others in the house.

MSD supported by providing a bond for Joe’s rental and rent in advance. One of the main factors that helped Joe in getting the private rental was the fact that he was employed.

Having goals to turn his life around

Joe’s main goal was to get off the benefit. He had been living in another town for a few years, taking drugs and didn’t have anything interesting or productive to do. He had faced a lot of stigma throughout his journey but now he had a genuine desire to work and wanted to make some changes in his life.

These days Joe comes across as being calmer when speaking. He loves his job and he’s doing well. His employment consultant keeps in touch with Joe’s employer, to support them if any issues come up. The employer has given feedback that Joe is coming to work on time and doing a good job.

Joe talks positively about the support from Workwise. He feels better about himself now that he’s off the benefit. He’s excited about the possibilities ahead, such as buying his own car.

What’s next?

As well as saving up for a car, Joe’s set his next employment goals. He wants to do some training to get a better job with more of a future. For now, he’s getting back into the habit of working and wants to stay in the job. Joe has made friends at work. He’s finding his routine, getting structure back in his life and paying rent.

Joe is thankful, grateful and respectful about all the support he’s received from The People’s Project and Workwise. Now he can see what a good life can look like.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

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