Man overcomes life of crime, mental illness to inspire homeless to get off the streets

Te Kani Morrell has been on and off the streets since the age of 10 and has spent time on the inside.

But life has now taken a turn for the best, with a roof over Morrell and his dog's head thanks to Housing First.

"It definitely did change Te Kani's life and Te Kani as he is now he's looking for that brighter future, and us as Housing First, and me as his care worker, I'm totally grateful," says care worker Anania Tawhi.

Morrell lost his daughter to cancer and has battled mental illness. Now his official therapy dog, called Boy, has saved his life as he was trying to end it. 

"Almost 20 years of my life has been in prison, I'm 44 now. They've thrown so many courses at me, life skill courses and stuff, it took a dog to realise what I am missing out on out here," Morrell says.

"He was on the street when he come into my life. I don't know how he survived on his own but he did and then yeah he saved my life."

Housing First now want to use the pair to inspire others. 

"It just gives other people hope as well that there is help out there for them especially for those who are chronically homeless," says Tawhi.

Morrell says it's difficult to be sad around Boy.

"I'm going to try use him to be the best mentor I can and try save someone's life on the street," he says.

Boy is more than a mate for Morrell. They're sharing a message of hope for their family on the streets.