Government Jettisons Partners In Fight Against Homelessness, Leaving Hundreds Of Families With Nowhere To Go

Published: Tue 27 Jul 2021 05:44 AM
The decision by the government to cut a key tool for housing vulnerable whanau could force hundreds of families to remain homeless.
The tool, known as “redirect housing contracts”, involves multi-year agreements with Community Housing Providers (CHPs) to help fund the lease of private properties. The CHP arranges the lease with a property owner to house a family, who contribute 25% of their income to paying the rent, with the government paying the rest.
“Redirects have been a crucial tool for organisations like Monte Cecilia to minimise the homelessness crisis’ impact on top of Covid-19’s implications on New Zealand’s economically vulnerable families,” Monte Cecilia CEO Bernie Smith says. “We have been finding housing this way at a rate of three a week for several years and had managed to place over 200 additional families into transitional housing.”
The scrapping of redirects is set to begin on 1 October, and by the end of 2021 is expected to force over 200 families (totalling over 1000 people, 700 of whom are children) currently in Monte Cecilia accommodation to wait years in temporary housing for the Kāinga Ora build program to catch up. The change in policy will also negatively affect the more than four-hundred families currently on Monte Cecilia’s wait list.
“When Labour came to power there were just over 67,000 state houses and a wait list of 5,000. Five years later and the state house numbers have grown by less than a thousand while the public housing wait list has soared to 24,000. The decision to throw tools out of the toolbox at this time of crisis is utterly baffling, and what’s doubly confusing is the government’s own 2021-2024 housing plan acknowledges the role of CHPs and states they are committed to ongoing investment in the sector.”
At the same time that the Government is stopping redirects for CHPs, Kāinga Ora is still buying new developments to meet its goal of an additional 1000 transitional (redirects) properties by September 30
“In his evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal this month, Kāinga Ora CEO Andrew McKenzie said the organisation has an ‘ambitious programme’ to increase the number of state houses by 8200 over the next four years. But, on current figures this will not even keep up with the increase in housing need, much less tackle the enormous waiting list,” Bernie says.
“The Prime Minister herself has spoken of pulling every possible lever, but instead it feels like they’re pulling the rug out from under us at a time when families are stuck living in overcrowded houses, garages and even cars. Politicians and government officials love talking about supporting CHPs and using housing development openings as photo opportunities, but mostly it’s been all talk and very little action.”

Next in New Zealand politics

Opportunity To Shape NZ’s First Emissions Reduction Plan
By: New Zealand Government
Government Books Show Resilient And Strong Economy
By: New Zealand Government
Health System Is Ready For Assisted-dying Law
By: New Zealand Government
Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces
By: New Zealand Government
Green Party Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws
By: Green Party
Call For Mandatory Vaccination Of Children’s Workforce
By: Office of the Children's Commissioner
James Shaw Moves From Climate Tsar To Economic Controller
By: New Zealand National Party
Outsourcing Emissions Shouldn’t Be At The Core Of Our Emissions Reductions Plan
By: FIRST Union
Greater Wellington Wants Action On The Emission Reduction Plan
By: Greater Wellington Regional Council
Action On Emissions Reduction Welcome
By: Business NZ
ACT Welcomes End Of Life Choice Milestone
By: ACT New Zealand
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media