The Salvation Army is in the final stages of selling its HomeCare branches in Auckland, Waikato and Rotorua to the Christian social service provider VisionWest Community Trust.
HomeCare provides personal and specialised services to the elderly and people with disabilities to enable them to remain living independently in their homes.
We are delighted that, under the proposed sales agreement, all affected HomeCare staff and clients can transfer to VisionWest. Clients and staff will not be significantly affected by the change. Under the proposed sale, clients will retain the same support workers they currently have and the same standard of care.
Consultation and meetings with staff are now underway and professional counselling and advice have been made available. Under the proposed transfer of ownership to VisionWest, all affected staff will retain their current pay rates, employment conditions and leave balances when they move to their new employer.
The Bay of Plenty HomeCare branch will not be sold. During recent contract negotiations between HomeCare and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, The Salvation Army undertook not to sell Bay of Plenty HomeCare at this time, and we stand by this commitment.
VisionWest was The Salvation Army’s preferred purchaser. The Army has worked with VisionWest for many years and has come to understand the two organisations share the same Christian ethos, the same values, and the same care and commitment to clients and staff.
The reason for the sale is that The Salvation Army has decided to more closely focus on its core clients – those struggling with deep-rooted poverty or acute distress; helping them to achieve independence and greater opportunity for themselves and their families.
The sale does not mean The Salvation Army’s commitment to older New Zealanders is lessened in any way. The Army is investing $23 million in social housing aimed primarily at providing affordable, comfortable and long-term housing to older New Zealanders on limited incomes. Programmes to support these tenants to ensure they do not become socially isolated or neglected are being developed and piloted. The Salvation Army has some 310 such tenants and this number will grow. Other existing support services for older New Zealanders living in the community are growing and other services will be developed as the need is identified.
While The Salvation Army has done all it can to ensure a smooth transition for staff and clients and has worked hard to ensure their welfare is a key priority, any change can be unsettling. I ask that your prayers be with affected clients and staff at this time.
Lt. Colonel Rod Carey
Secretary for Programme