INDEPENDENT NEWS

Homeless Need To Be Included In Response To COVID-19

Published: Mon 23 Mar 2020 07:47 PM
Petition for a COVID-19 Emergency Housing Plan
Auckland Action Against Poverty is urging the Government to introduce permanent measures to safeguard people from the effects of COVID-19 by ensuring everyone has a safe home to live in.
“Our homeless community need to be included in the Government's response to COVID-19. We support ActionStation's COVID-19 Emergency Housing Plan petition and urge the Government to introduce all of the asks in full to ensure that we do not put our homeless communities at risk of the deadly COVID-19”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty.
“New Zealand has over 14,000 households who are on the social housing waiting list and lack access to safe homes. People living in overcrowded homes, motels, or rough sleeping are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and unable to self-isolate.
“The Government has all the tools to ensure that everyone has a safe place to live. We already have more than twice the number of empty homes in Auckland as there are families on the housing waiting list. We are urging the Government to acquire ghost homes, build enough public housing and introduce rent-caps to ensure no one is left behind in our response to COVID-19.
“People who are in inadequate, overcrowded homes or are living in the streets can’t follow the directives laid out by the Alert Level 4 to COVID-19. If we do not provide access to adequate housing to everyone who needs it, we are dooming thousands of people who do not have the means to self-isolate. We can prevent countless of infections and deaths from within some of our most at-risk groups by providing them with safe homes.
“None of the asks to Government in the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Plan petition are new. Auckland Action Against Poverty and many frontline groups who work with our homeless communities have been calling for an end to the housing crisis for several years. As we face a pandemic the consequences of inadequate housing are only exacerbated, and more lives are at stake.
“In order to future-proof our society from the worst effects of COVID-19 or any future pandemic we need to guarantee access to safe, adequate homes for all.

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